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Baby Yellow Eggplant
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Yellow eggplants are small, round or oval, averaging 2-5 centimeters in diameter. The outer skin is smooth and white when young and transforms into a golden yellow when mature. The inner flesh is firm and ivory with many brown seeds. Yellow eggplants grow in clusters on shrub-like plants that reach almost a meter in height. Yellow eggplants are dense, crunchy, and bitter and do not have the mild, earthy, and sweet flavors that larger, soft, and fleshy varieties are known for.
Yellow eggplants are available year-round.
Yellow eggplants, botanically classified as Solanum melongena, are a rare Thai heirloom variety and are members of the Solanaceae, or nightshade family along with potatoes, tomatoes, and peppers. They are often called baby eggplants because of their small size and may also be referred to as Thai Round Yellow, Thai Yellow Egg, and Golden Eggs. Yellow eggplants are commonly used in curry-based dishes or used as garnishes, but some varieties were also developed for ornamental use.
Yellow eggplants contain dietary fiber, calcium, phosphorous, potassium, and manganese. They also contain some vitamins A and C.
Yellow eggplants are best suited for cooked applications such as sautéing, frying, and roasting. Known for their bitter taste, the seeds are first removed, and the flesh is then soaked in water to reduce the sour flavor. Yellow eggplants are popularly sliced and sautéed in coconut milk-based curries. They can also be diced with chilies in stir-fries and can be used interchangeably or alongside the more common green variety of Thai baby eggplant. Yellow eggplants pair well lemongrass, red chilies, garlic, lime, coriander, meats such as chicken and beef, coconut milk, and Thai basil. Yellow eggplants will keep up to two days when refrigerated.
Eggplants are prominent in Thai cuisine and culture. They are used medicinally in Thailand to reduce symptoms of stomach ulcers and are also found in many local folk stories. In the story of Kao and The Eggplant Flower, Thailand's version of Cinderella, a young peasant girl marries a prince after she brings him plants that originally sprang from a magical eggplant.
Thai eggplants were first cultivated in India and botanists believe that ancient civilizations in Southeast Asia were the first to grow and gradually develop different types of eggplants such as the Yellow eggplant. Today Yellow eggplants can be found at markets in Asia, in online seed catalogs, and at specialty markets and stores in the United States, Australia, and Europe.