Chinese eggplants are long and thin, averaging 15-20 centimeters in length and 5 centimeters in diameter. These fruits can be crooked or straight, and its thin outer skin ranges from violet to bright purple. The inner flesh is cotton white, semi-firm, and nearly seedless. Chinese eggplants have a mild and sweet flavor without the bitterness associated with eggplant.
Chinese eggplant, botanically classified as Solanum melongena, is the name given to hundreds of eggplant varieties that are considered native to or cultivated throughout China and Asia. Also known as Oriental Charm and Pingtung Long, Chinese eggplant inherently has fewer seeds than Western eggplant varieties making them less bitter and meatier. Chinese eggplants are popularly used in stir-fries and will hold its shape when cooked.
Chinese eggplants are best suited for cooked applications such as braising, stir-frying, sautéing, and grilling. Their tender flesh cooks quicker than most eggplant varieties, and its flavor and texture will be at its peak when baked. Stir-frying Chinese eggplant is the most popular preparation method as the eggplant has a meaty and flavorful texture. Chinese eggplant holds up well to spicy, sweet, and savory flavors. Complimentary ingredients include cumin, garlic, ginger, cilantro, fermented beans, chilies, soy sauce, vinegar, mushrooms, onions, sesame oil, chicken, pork, chickpeas, lentils, hardy greens, and summer vegetables such as tomatoes and squashes. Chinese eggplant will keep up to one week when stored in a cool and dry place.