The Brinjal, the popular vegetable of the masses, is native to India. The most common variety, the glossy purple Brinjal is a familiar component of Indian curries. This inexpensive vegetable was known as Malayan purple melon in China. There it was a common food item since 600 BC. May be the shape of first varieties that English speakers came across prompted them to call it as eggplant.
The botanical name of Brinjal is Solanum melongena. The other names are begun in Bengali, ringna in Gujarathi, baingan in Hindi, badane in Kannada, waangum in Kashmiri, vazhuthinanga in Malayalam, vange in Marathi, baigan in Orriya, kathiri in Tamil, venkaya in Telugu and the other names are Aubergine and Eggplant.
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The raw vegetable contains only 24kcal per 100 gms. Even though it is a low calorie vegetable but its caloric value rises steeply when it is fried. It provides small amounts of calcium, phosphorous, fibre, folic acid, sodium and vitamin C. It has good amounts of potassium. 100 gms of edible portion provides 200 mgs of potassium. It is high in water content and has about 92 % of moisture. Due to its low calorie content and high potassium content, it is suitable for diabetes, hypertensive and obese patients.Nutritive value per 100 gms of Brinjal
|Moisture||92.7 gms||Protein||1.4 gms|
|Fat||0.3 gms||Minerals||0.3 gms|
|Fibre||1.3 gms||Carbohydrate||4 gms|
|Energy||24 kcal||Calcium||18 mgs|
|Phosphorous||47 mgs||Vitamin C||12 mgs|
|Sodium||3 mgs||Potassium||200 mgs|
There are different varieties available but varies in colour and shape. The most commonly seen are with dark purple skin. The other popular variety is in light green colour. The shape varies from oval, pear, round to finger shape. They are slightly longer and are tastier when young and firm. Some varieties are bitter so they need salting before cooking to draw out the bitter juices and reduce the moisture. This makes the flesh denser so that less fat is absorbed during cooking.
To prevent discoloration of the flesh while preparing brinjal, make slice or cube with stainless steel knife and sprinkle with salt if not cooked immediately. Brinjal is considered to be having medicinal properties even though non of these properties have any scientific base. In few countries in Africa the brinjal is as medicine to treat epilepsy and convulsions. In South East Asia it is still used to treat stomach cancer and measles.