Roast Balanjay AKA Roasted Eggplant, Easy as 1,2,3

by Samantha Bacchus McLeod

From mid-July to late September it is balanjay, aka eggplant, season. These sun soakers love the heat, and they are grown year round in hot countries where they are called by many names; aubergines, eggplants, bharta, and balanjay depending in where you are. No matter the name, it is one of the most underrated vegetables here in North America.

Everyone says the same thing, “I love growing them, but I have no idea what to do with them!” There are a hundred recipes I can think of right off the top of my head. Eggplants are a huge deal on the continents of Asia, Africa, and South America, and many, many Mediterranean countries love eggplants too. Take a quick look at some of the recipes this vegetable:

Chinese eggplant recipes call for it to be soaked in salty water for a few minutes before fast frying in a fragrant oil.
Indian recipes will of course curry it in a few different ways depending on where you are, Southern or Northern India.
African stews, Tagines, and Zaalouks.
Mediterranean silky dips and saucy bakes, and caponatas.
Roasted balanjay (like this balanjay choka recipe) has it own version all over the world.

Any balanjay or eggplant grown in your backyard, or bought from the farmers at the market is going to be amazing. You will be able to cook the whole thing without a care about what was put on the skin to preserve it.

In Guyana, South America, with its ties to the Caribbean, we have a version of every single one of those other countries’ recipes. Our most basic is balanjay choka, which started off somewhere in India but ended up being a unique Guyanese dish, reserved for only the best of cooks.

In Guyana, we have recipes for dishes with names that are hard to forget, Balanjay Curry, Fry Up Balanjay Balanjay and Beef, Balanjay and Chicken, Balanjay and Pork, or Balanjay and Potatoes with Shrimps. Or we go real South Indian and add sweet coconut milk to a spicy curry. We also have Balanjay Stew, which is a quintessential African dish, again with loads of meat. My preference is with fry-down browned chicken (sauteed to a sticky sweetness). Then there is Byganie (eggplant fritters).

Hang tight, I have some great recipes for using up those luscious eggplants. Recipe created and perfected by my sister in Chicago, and even more recipes by my besties in Florida.

Note: We also have a gorgeous spicy ground beef stuffed eggplant, a bit like the Greek’s Melitzanes Papoutsakia, but without the bechamel. I could keep on going with the various versions but here I will stop. Here is the easy marinated and grilled eggplant recipe for a great starting point.

Roasted Eggplant

Rating: 5.0/5
( 1 voted )
Serves: 4-8 Prep Time: Cooking Time: Nutrition facts: 200 calories 20 grams fat


3 large eggplants sliced into ½ inch circles.

½ cup Olive oil

½ cup Balsamic vinegar

2 cloves garlic, grated

1 tsp honey

1 tsp cracked black pepper

1 tsp sea salt


Wash the eggplant before slicing, and discard the ends.

Whip the oil, vinegar, garlic, honey, pepper, and salt until emulsified.

Rub the emulsified sauce into the slices eggplants, coat all of it.

Place everything in a Ziplock bag and marinate in the fridge for 2 hours, or overnight.

Fire up the BBQ, bring the heat to high. Once it is hot enough, go ahead and lower to medium heat.

Place the eggplants slices directly onto the grill and barbecue until the centre has fallen in to a soft consistency. Then flip and grilled the other side.

When done, it should feel soft to the touch in the centre, but grilled well to hold it together. The skin should be well wrinkled, which makes it nice and edible.


Serve them then and there, or keep them it in the fridge and use up within 4 days.

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