Microwaving eggplant is a faster way to cook an otherwise time-consuming and laborious vegetable. This cooking method is best suited to a fairly small amount of eggplant, usually only one or two at a time. Eggplants can be microwaved whole or in chunks or slices, depending on how they will later be used.
Traditionally, eggplant needs to be salted, drained, and then pre-cooked before it can be used in many dishes. Microwaving eggplant eliminates these preliminary steps, cutting down on both preparation time and aggravation. To begin microwaving eggplant, fresh, firm specimens should be thoroughly rinsed and any dirt or debris removed. The stem end should be removed, but the bottom of the eggplant can stay intact.
At this point, there are several options for how to best prepare the eggplant for microwaving. People who plan to eat their eggplant without the skin have two options: remove the skin before cooking or remove it after cooking. To remove the skin before cooking, simply stand the eggplant on its blunt end where the stem used to be and peel away the skin with a sharp knife or vegetable peeler. Eggplants that will be microwaved in the skin should be rubbed with salt before cooking to make the skin drier, firmer, and easier to remove once the flesh is cooked.
Recipes that call for mashed eggplant or eggplant pulp can begin with microwaving whole eggplants. Conversely, recipes that mandate slices, chunks, or rounds should be broken into those shapes before cooking because it can be difficult to process cooked flesh neatly. Whole eggplants can be placed in a shallow glass dish one or two at a time and microwaved for about 10 minutes on high heat. Slices or rounds should be arranged in a single layer on a similar dish, and cubes can be piled into a glass bowl. Microwaving eggplant while it is intact will take about the same amount of time as microwaving one entire eggplant that has been broken down.
A whole microwaved eggplant with the skin on will be finished cooking when it collapses inward and the flesh is soft. The skin can be peeled away in strips with a knife, or the soft eggplant flesh can simply be squeeze out. Skinless whole eggplants should bruise to the touch and also have soft flesh. Cubes and slices should be soft but maintain their shapes, and can be easily pierced by a knife. Microwaving eggplant according to these tips means it is now cooked through and ready to be used in a variety of different recipes.