The first time I cast my eyes on an Eggplant here in the US, was completely taken aback. It looked like Ben Johnson on steroids, it took a few more months before I got the guts to try it out. Now don't get me wrong it is a fine vegetable and where you need a lot of flesh like for Baingan Bartha it is absolutely essential. Thank God for Saroj's Cookbook which taught me a lot of tips and essential details of Indian Cooking, those early days when I had absolutely no idea what Indian cooking was all about. Anyway the Indian Eggplants that I got in the Grocery Stores Indian or American were never fresh, it is the case even now, when there are four Indian grocery stores where there used to be one.
So I had this intense desire to grow eggplants on my own, even if I can enjoy fresh eggplants just for few months during the summer. It took all of 3 summers before I actually got eggplants. The first year the plant was eaten by insects, the second year by the time the plants started to flower cold weather set in I got maybe 2 small eggplants. The third year I came upon this marvellous idea to grow eggplants in pots rather than put them in the ground. Voila I hit paydirt I had a sizeable harvest of eggplants and also the insects don't harm it that much when they are in pots. I have heard that in India, it is one plant that gets soaked in pesticides because it gets attacked by a lot of pests. I do not use pesticides, I occasionally spray soap, chilly powder mixture over the plants, seem to work.
This year I have 2 varieties of eggplants one long purple variety and the other the more common short purple round variety. The eggplant plant floweres are 2 kinds, one that goes on to bear fruit the other that dries up and withers. Eggplant is native to India and requires very hot climate to grow.
I cooked Eggplant-Chickpeas from Indira's Mahanandi and ofcourse with the fresh crunchiness of the eggplant and the tender softness of the chickpeas the curry tasted great.
This will be an entry for InjiPennu's Green Blog Project.