The eggplant is a vegetable with many names and varieties. Aubergine, brinjal and my favourite, "ngai gwa" which means short gourd in Cantonese. I was a bit perplexed when I first heard the name as the common Chinese eggplant is long and slender, not the round and fat variety like the American or Italian eggplant. So I asked a friend who is Cantonese why they call eggplant "ngai gwa" and she thought I was teasing her for being short. Hah, so much for my people skills. Not getting an answer from my short, opps I mean vertically challenged friend, I asked the same question to another friend who is also Cantonese and not sensitive about her height. She told me the eggplant is called short gourd because eating too many will make you short. If that is true, my mom must have fed me a tad too many eggplants when I was young.
Now that I am not growing any taller and have since discovered high heels, I can eat all the eggplants I want. Here is a simple and delicious way to cook it. Grill the eggplant with a little oil, then smother it with a sauce made from chilli, belacan (shrimp paste), shallots and garlic.