We had to wait for a table at Asia Market today at lunch time. While we were killing time, I noticed there were a bunch of little baggies full of fresh herbs and produce on the counter. I picked up a bag that looked like it was filled with peas on stems.
1010 West Cavalcade
I asked the cashier, "Is this eggplant?" She told me it was. In Thailand, curries are often prepared with tiny round eggplant, some the size of grapes, some as small as peas. When you attempt to recreate Thai recipes in the United States, you discover that lots of ingredients are difficult to find—tiny eggplant among them.
Are there any dishes on the menu today that have these eggplant in them? I wondered. When the cashier said no, I asked if I could buy the eggplant, send it back to the kitchen and have them cook it for me. The woman that the cashier was waiting on turned around and said, "Yes, I do it all the time."
So I ordered Thai green curry with chicken and "pea eggplant," as the vegetable is known. I was delighted by the dish that was delivered to my table. (Though the curry was more yellow than green.) The little eggplant were quite firm and popped when I bit them. They tasted like a cross between eggplant and fresh English peas.
The baggies full of eggplant on the counter are delivered by a neighbor who grows them in the Heights. I have heard these are also sometimes available at farmer's markets. The plants grow to the size of small trees and produce lots of tiny fruits.
That's a bush I need to plant in my garden.