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A meaty, low calorie vegetable used in several Asian dishes

Originally from the region of modern day Malaysia, the eggplant was first cultivated in Asia over 2,500 years ago. Along with the common eggplant found in most grocery stores, Asian cooks have several other varieties to choose from.

Types of Eggplants

Chinese Eggplant (Chinese: ai gwa)
Longer and more slender than the American eggplants, the Chinese eggplant is light purple with streaks of white. Both the Chinese and Japanese eggplants have fewer seeds than the common eggplant.

Hairy Eggplant (Thai: Ma uk)
Bitter-tart in taste, the hairy eggplant is orange in color with fine hairs. Originally from Thailand, the hairy eggplant is used in salads and sauce.

Japanese Eggplant (Japanese: nasu, nasubi)
Similar to the Chinese eggplant, but usually with a darker purple skin, the Japnese eggplant is commonly used in tempura, grilled, simmered or as tsukemono.

Pea Eggplant (Thai: Makua phuong)
Used almost exclusively in Thailand, the pea eggplant is pea-sized and dark green or white in color. Their crunchy tart flavor are used in curries and chili sauces (nam prik). Similar to the pea eggplant, are the slightly larger makua yae (Indonesian: terong enkol).

White Eggplant
Commonly used in the central regions of China, they are white or light greenish in color and similar in taste and texture as regular eggplants.