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Bitter Eggplant (Likok)
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Likok eggplants are small and round, roughly one centimeter in diameter, with smooth, yellowish-green skin. The meaty flesh is white to ivory and contains tiny edible seeds. Likok has a very bitter taste. Likok eggplant grows on blade-like stems that sport thorny branches which have served as a protective survival element of the plant for centuries.
Likok is available in the spring and early summer months in Northern India.
Likok eggplant, botanically classified as Solanum indicum, is a bitter eggplant variety. The taxonomy of this variety is hard to determine due to the similarity between multiple species of similar-looking nightshade fruits. The small yellow-green eggplants can also be classified as Solanum lasiocarpum or Solanum xanthocarpum and are closely related to the Wild Cluster eggplant and Thai eggplant. Known locally as Indian nightshade, Bush tomato, Yellow-berried nightshade, Green Brinjals, Bijil, Badi Kateri or Vanabhanta, the Likok eggplant is popular in traditional Indian cuisine and Ayurvedic medicine.
Likok eggplant contains some potassium, vitamin K, and vitamin B6.
Likok eggplant can be used in both raw and cooked preparations. It is sought after for its small size and bitter flavor profile and is popularly used in chutneys mixed with onions and spices. Its bitter taste can be offset by spices and other vegetables, or with the addition of coconut milk in curries. Likok is often pickled in vinegar with a variety of seasonings. It can also be added to stir-fries, soups, and stews. Likok eggplant will keep up to three days when stored in a cool and dry place.
In Ayurvedic medicine, Likok eggplant is used to reduce symptoms of asthma and colic. Both the roots and fruit are considered to be part of Dashamoola, a group of plants known for their anti-inflammatory properties. The fruit, in particular, is known for its ability to strengthen the throat, reduce symptoms of repository disorders, and to aid in digestion
Likok eggplant is believed to be native to Asia and varieties of Likok can be found growing wild in Sri Lanka, Nepal, China, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Afghanistan, and India. Today Likok can be found at farmers markets and specialty grocers in Asia.
Recipes that include Bitter Eggplant (Likok). One is easiest, three is harder.
|Shobha's Food Mazaa||Bitter Eggplant Curry ( Likok)|