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Medan eggplant is small in size, averaging 10-20 centimeters in length, and is elongated, slender, and cylindrical in shape with a straight or slightly curved appearance. The lime green skin is smooth, thin, and delicate, connecting to a green-brown stem or calyx at one end. The skin may also bear pale green to white striping, depending on maturity. Underneath the surface, the light green flesh is soft, spongy, and moist with many small, cream-colored seeds in the center. When cooked, Medan eggplants are tender with a mild and slightly sweet flavor.
Medan eggplants are available year-round with a peak season in the fall.
Medan eggplants, botanically classified as Solanum melongena, are small fruits found growing on tall, bushy plants that can reach up to one meter in height and belongs to the Solanaceae or nightshade family along with tomatoes and potatoes. Classified as a fruit but cooked as a vegetable, Medan eggplants are favored for their small, finger-like size and are a popular variety found in Medan, North Sumatra in Indonesia. Medan eggplants are also known as Medan Terong or Medan Terung and are commonly used in stews, sambal, and stir-fries.
Medan eggplants are a good source of fiber and also contain potassium, magnesium, manganese, copper, and some vitamin C.
Medan eggplants are best suited for cooked applications such as sautéing, frying, grilling, roasting, baking, or steaming. The small fruits can be sliced and added to soups, stews, curries, and satays. They can also be deep fried, chopped into spicy chile pastes, stir-fried with other local vegetables, or cooked and tossed with meats, rice, or noodles. Medan eggplant pairs well with vegetables such as green beans, carrots, pak choi, and bean sprouts, spices and aromatics such as cumin, oregano, coriander, rosemary, turmeric, curry powder, and garlic, peanuts, tofu, seafood, and meats such as pork, poultry, and beef. The fruits will keep up to three days when stored in a cool, dry, and dark place.
Medan, Sumatra, is a popular culinary destination in Indonesia and is known for its diverse flavors due to a blend of many different cultures in one city. At the Merdeka Walk, one of the culinary attractions of the city, the streets are lined with food vendors and souvenir stalls, and in the center of the streets, there are many open tables for families and friends to gather together. The culinary dishes in the Merdeka greatly vary, reflecting cuisine from India, China, Thailand, Western influences, to traditional Sumatran dishes. Medan eggplant is sliced and fried, sautéed, or roasted in many of the dishes found in the Merdeka, and it is also commonly paired with or chopped into sambal, which is a chile paste condiment. There are many variations and flavors of sambal, both red and green, and these pastes can be mixed into stir-fries, rice, and noodles, or served over cooked meats or seafood.
Eggplant is native to Asia and was spread throughout Southeast Asia via migrating peoples and trade routes. The history of the Medan eggplant is largely unknown, but today it can be found at local fresh markets in Sumatra, Indonesia.