Squat, green, golf ball-sized Thai eggplants differ from their larger purple cousins in more than just appearance. In Thailand, they are often eaten raw in salads with their tender but crunchy texture intact, or they are simmered in quick-cooking curries. They soften in a matter of minutes, absorbing a tasty sauce that’s easy to customize.

Peel back the leaf-like parts of the stem that cling to the top of the eggplant and slice off the top just underneath the stem. Cut the eggplant into wedges, quarters or halves or leave them whole. If you see a ball of dark seeds in the center, which indicates a ripe eggplant, remove and discard them. Young, unripe Thai eggplants with whitish seeds are the better choice for curries and do not require seed removal.

Tips

Thai eggplants discolor quickly after being cut and exposed to air. Prepare them just before you’re ready to add them to a curry.

Unlike many Southeast Asian curries, a typical Thai curry is quick to cook. Purchase a jar of red or green Thai curry paste and a can of coconut milk, prepare your meat and vegetables, and the whole cooking process is quite simple.