Long eggplant, long aubergine ໝາກເຂືອຍາວ mak keua nyaow
Grilled until soft, this variety is used in jeow. It can be stuffed.
A wonderful way to prepare aubergine is to cut the vegetable in 1 cm (⅓ in) slices across the waist. Partly slit and stuff each section with pork mince. Dip in a tempura batter and deep-fry. We sampled this dish in Vieng Phoukha, an ecotourism centre in Luang Namtha province.
Apple eggplant, Thai eggplant ໝາກເຂືອ mak keua
These small, round or slightly ovoid eggplants are green, white or green and white striped. Do not use overly mature ones. They are best while still pale cream inside, nutty and almost sweet. Left to get large or a few days older, apple eggplants turn bitter and the seeds go brown. In Laos these eggplants are grilled until black, pounded and added to jeow. They are also used in aw lahm and other stews. Simmered and then pounded, they are used as a thickening agent in stews and soups. They are eaten raw with lahp. They can also be finely sliced and added to lahp or sa. There are bitter yellow eggplants which are made into an eggplant sa or added to green papaya salad. There is a small white variety which perhaps gave this vegetable its ‘egg’ name.
Eggplant, pea ໝາກແຄ້ງຫວານ mak keng waan
Eggplant berry ໝາກແຄ້ງຂົມ mak keng kom
These are used in bamboo soup, aw lahm, phan miang bpaa and curries without coconut milk. They are also steamed and eaten with jeow. The bitter variety, mak keng kom, is eaten with lahp.