There are many different types of eggplant salads, including Greek, Turkish, Thai, and Moroccan variations. As well as these national variations, different salads can be found which include eggplant along with garlic, tomato, and pasta. The Moroccan version of the dish includes cayenne pepper, cumin, and paprika, while the Turkish version features a low fat yogurt, green chilies, and garlic. The Thai eggplant salad includes cayenne chilies and banana; the Greek variation is seasoned with parsley.
Eggplants, also called aubergines, are large fruits which grow on a 2- to 4-foot (0.6- to 1.2-meter) tall tree. The shape of the fruits can vary from being oval in shape to almost spherical, but they are most often oblong. The color can also range from white to a purple-black shade, but a dark purple color is most common. The fruits are usually diced or sliced into strips before cooking, but they can also be roasted whole or split into halves. Eggplants contain vitamin C and potassium.
Many different types of eggplant salads exist, and most are related to the different culture's culinary preferences. A general recipe for a salad using eggplant would also include garlic, balsamic vinegar, oregano, sugar, salt and pepper. To cook the eggplant, most recipes suggest placing several pierced eggplants into the oven and then baking until the flesh of the fruit is soft. This generally takes around one and a half hours. The remainder of the ingredients are mixed together and combined with the flesh of the eggplant to form the salad.
Other simple variations on the idea of eggplant salads include ingredients such as tomatoes, olives, and pasta. This adds a general Italian twist on the recipe, and the eggplant is fried in garlic as opposed to being baked. All of the ingredients are added into the same pot, with the exception of the pasta, which is cooked separately and then combined at the end of the cooking process.
Most of the variations on the recipe are related to the cuisine of a particular culture. Thailand, Greece, Morocco, and Turkey all have their own versions of eggplant salads. The Moroccan version of the dish features cumin, paprika and cayenne pepper as spices, used to add flavor to the salad. The Greek dish is roughly equivalent to a basic version of the salad but adds parsley as an herb. The Turkish and Thai variations on the recipe involve fresh chilies to add a spicy kick.