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Cooking with eggplant

PCC Taste | September 2013

For many, eggplant remains a glossy purple mystery. How do you transform it from fresh and spongy to the glorious silky texture and complex flavors we enjoy at restaurants? We asked PCC Cooks instructor Uma Bangalore, a lifelong eggplant fan, for her top cooking tips.

Uma grew up in her native India enjoying eggplant cooked by her mother and grandmother in complex sauces based on onions, peanuts, sesame seeds and coconut. Upon moving to America, she's added Italian-style breaded and fried Eggplant Parmesan to her repertoire, along with a very simple dish that hails from China — Strange Flavor Eggplant, an easy, sweet, salty and sour entrée that calls for baked eggplant.

Uma's top tips

Tips for cooking

To bake a whole eggplant, brush eggplant with olive oil, pierce a few times with a fork, wrap in foil and bake in a 375° F to 400° F oven for 30 to 40 minutes, until a knife sinks through easily.

To fire-roast a whole eggplant, brush very lightly with olive oil and set atop a gas stove or BBQ grill over a low flame, turning regularly to avoid burning, until you feel it's cooked inside. Then char its outside to create that smoky flavor.

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