Posted by: Alicia Phillips | June 28, 2012

My Love/Hate Relationship with Eggplant…

Bundle of Eggplant

Eggplant, also know as Baigain here, is very common in Fiji. It grows very easily in this climate so it is available in abundance in the market year round and is very cheap most of the time. You can get a large bundle, maybe 6 or 7, for a $1 FJ (about $0.75 USD). You don’t have to refrigerate eggplant because it stays pretty fresh for a few days after picking. Eggplant is low in calories, has no fat, even though it has small amounts of vitamins and minerals- it does has a lot of fiber, which is good because it fills you up faster and longer. Plus there are so many ways to eat it: Boiled, grilled, roasted, battered and fried, and even raw!

The only problem is………..I find it disgusting. Which is inconvenient because like I said, it is so cheap and so available.

I’ve tried everything:

  • Adding it to vegetable stir fries
  • Adding it as a filler to my dahl soup
  • Making it a topping for pizza
  • Eggplant and chickpea curry
  • Chopping it up really small and adding it to sauces
  • Roasting it with delicious seasonings and other vegetables.

I’ve even gotten fancy and made dishes like eggplant parmesan and babgaboush… no avail.  It always just ends up gray and mushy….

I’ve been trying for a year to convince my palate that eggplant tastes good but it’s not helping….I’m about to give up on it completely.

So, this is my plea….does ANYONE out there have a way to cook eggplant that might change my mind?


  1. Try it with fish in lolo (coconut cream)


    Thinly sliced in lasagne layers.

    But if you never liked it then you probably won’t.

    Fijian word for baigan is baigani.

  2. have it in a light batter – like a temupara and then deep fried. Ask around an indian family to make you fried baigan! if you still don’t like…hmmm move on from baigan lol. Try something else 🙂

  3. Seriously, everyone I know who doesn’t like eggplant ends up liking it when it’s eggplant parmesan… But if you have tried that already, I don’t know what else you can do! There is a great looking Martha Stewart baked eggplant parmesan recipe online. Maybe try to add some spicy things to it or MAYBE have someone else cook it for you and it might taste better. Not that you’re a bad cook, but I often find that even if I use the exact same recipe as someone else, it always tastes better when they cook it! Weird… ok good luck!

  4. I completely understand! Every season it looks so good at the market that I buy it in hopes this time will be different and I will like it and each time I am disappointed. I found a few recipes for you. I hope you have better luck than I did. Love and miss you.

  5. we bought a nasty ass goat the other day.. killed it, cleaned it, and ate it three hours later and it was amazing! getting rocketed while it was cooking was not very fun though.. Be good sister, Love you.

  6. Helllooo!! My name is Ciara!! I’m a FPCV coming into Fiji with the group in September!! My email is and I was wondering if you could find the time to email me because well I of course have A MILLION questions. I’ve been following your blog, hoping for an invitation and finally received one in your country! Super crazy, but cool. Hope you find the time to email me 🙂 thanks and have a wonderful day!



  7. My husband likes it fried. He takes two eggs and whips them with a wire wisk. He then dips the egg plant in the eggs then rolss it in crumbled up saltine crackers then fries it in a fry pan or deep fryer.

  8. here is an amazing recipe! even my husband who HATES Hates!! eggplant loves this and I’ve made it twice this month!!!
    2 large eggplant, sliced in 1/4″ slices
    6 large egg whites
    6 tablespoons water
    2 cups Italian seasoned panko bread crumbs, or plain bread crumbs and two tablespoons Italian seasoning
    1 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
    1 cup low fat mozzarella cheese, shredded
    2 ½ cups low sugar spaghetti sauce

    Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray two non-stick baking sheets with olive oil cooking spray. Spray a medium sized baking dish with olive oil cooking spray.
    Whip eggs with water and place in one dish, then place panko bread crumbs and half the Parmesan cheese in another dish.
    Dredge eggplant in egg then in the panko and place on the baking sheet.
    Bake for 15 minutes, then flip and bake another 15 minutes.
    Spread 1/2 cup sauce on the bottom of the baking dish and layer half the eggplant on the bottom. Spread another 1 cup sauce on top of eggplant and sprinkle with half the mozzarella cheese.
    Add the remaining layer of eggplant, spread with remaining sauce, mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.
    Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown on top.
    Cooking notes. I used my mandolin on thinest setting, did not have mozz but jalapeno havarti, so grated it. The recipe doesnot have you salt and let sit, and I didn’t either, you do not need to salt the slices. yum so good. we had leftovers and the next day took ciabata buns toasted them and filled with the leftovers, it was like veal cutlets on a bun (without the veal) delish!
    hope you like it!

  9. I feel you! I too hate eggplant! Yet want to love it! But one time I had this edible eggplant meal somewhere… I don’t remember what it was called or where. I don’t remember if it was too good but it wasn’t bad… so I’ve been chasing after that experience ever since! I feel like whenever eggplant is on sale (which is 1 for a dollar here) I find myself eyeing it in the grocery store… but whenever I bring that baby home and try to cook it it turns out awful- salty, mushy, bland, one or all of the above. I found this site because I just had a horrible eggplant microwave dinner (which got great reviews online) so maybe it’s just me. Maybe some people just aren’t meant to enjoy eggplant!

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