Eggplants are common throughout the cuisines of south and east Asia, where it was first cultivated, as well as the Middle East, North Africa and southern Europe. They come in many shapes, sizes and colors -- their most familiar form is large, oblong and purple, but you'll find slim, snake-like eggplants in purple and green as well as globe-shaped eggplants sporting stripes or even a skin of pure white, reminding us of how they got their name in the first place. Eggplant marries well with a variety of meats, perhaps due to its mild flavor.
Eggplant goes well with lamb; you will find this pairing throughout the Middle East in particular, where lamb is a popular meat. One of the most famous eggplant and lamb dishes is the Greek casserole known as moussaka. You can also prepare stuffed eggplants with pine nuts and ground lamb, or try a classic Moroccan tagine, or stew, with eggplant, lamb and tomato.
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Any eggplant dish prepared with lamb can also be made with beef, as both are red meats with similar texture, though lamb is more strongly flavored. Try it in a Thai-style stir-fry with fish sauce, lime juice and mint.
Chicken and eggplant can be united in a coconut-milk-based Thai green curry. Or accompany roast or grilled chicken with a side of ratatouille, the famous Provencal vegetable dish where eggplant is an important component.
Many Asian dishes pair pork and eggplant to good effect. The dish known as Thai jungle curry combines pork, chili peppers, green beans or long beans and a number of other vegetables for a fiery main dish. Or try Chinese braised eggplant with pork in a garlicky sauce.