Ping Tung Eggplant – Solanum melongena ‘Ping Tung’

Ping Tung Eggplant

There are many varieties of Asian eggplants, with skin colors ranging from light to dark purple, white, black, pink or green. Shapes can be round or long and slender.

Of all the Asian eggplants, Ping Tung is my favorite. It is named after the town, Ping Tung, Taiwan, where it originated.

Considered the best of the Asian varieties (a heavy producer, fairly hardy and disease resistant). The skin of the Ping Tung eggplant is a beautiful amethyst color, very thin so does not need peeling. Cooked, the white flesh has a creamy texture that is never bitter.

Grows to about 9 or more inches in length, if picked  when the fruit is just over 1 inch in diameter there is no seeds. (I have purchased Ping Tung eggplants that were about 12 inches long and about 2 inches in diameter but still seedless.)

Growing: For best growth and yield, plant in fertile, well-drained, slightly acid soil that is high in organic matter and in full sun. For additional information click here for Cornell University eggplant growing guide.

I am a windowsill gardener, so must start my seeds indoors in early March. If you have a greenhouse or grow light you could start about 8 weeks before your transplanting date.

Eggplants are very sensitive to cold, I wait until end of May early June to set my eggplants in the garden. The weather in my area has settled (hopefully), no more frost and the soil has warmed up to 60º+ F.

Another reason I start my seeds so early is that when I set my plants out into the garden they have past the seedling stage and are mature plants.

Right photo, flea beetle and the holes it made in eggplant leaf.

You see, flea beetles love eggplants, the mature plants will survive their attacks, but the  seedlings will be destroyed. Adult flea beetles are most active early spring when they emerge from the soil looking for food. Delay planting in the garden gives the plants better chance of survival.

This is how I grow my seedlings:
(Photo, left to right)
Start seeds in cell pack.
Transplant seedlings to 3-inch pots
 Bump up seedlings to 4-inch pots
 Bump up seedlings to 6½-inch pots
The plants will continue to grow and mature in the 6½-inch pots. I water with ¼ strength fish emulsion fertilizer when soil surface is dry.

During and after hardening off and before transplanting into the garden, I protect the young plants by bringing them indoors on windy days and at night, yes, I baby them.

DSC03577weblargePing Tung eggplant makes good container plants. My garden friend, Durga, plants hers in a beautiful container among her containers of exotic flowers. Her eggplants did not suffer flea beetles damage and she harvested many fruits. She also has the advantage, if she chooses, of bringing the container into her garage for protection if the night time temperature drops too low or frost is predicted, bring it back outdoors during the day, thus extending the season.

Harvesting: Can be harvested at any stage. Best if picked when the fruit is just over 1 inch in diameter.

Cooking: Grill, bake, broil, steam or stir-fry. Alone or combined with other vegetables and/or meat, poultry, seafood, tofu …. Use in any recipe calling for eggplant.

Miso Ping Tung Eggplant with Heirloom Sweet Peppers

2 – 3 Ping Tung eggplants, about ¾ – 1 pound, cut into wedges or ½-inch thick slices (see NOTE 1)
1 – 3 cups mixed sweet peppers cut into bite-sized pieces (see NOTE 2)
1 tablespoon finely chopped shallots
1 – 2 cloves garlic minced
1 – 1½ tablespoons soy sauce, regular or gluten free
2 tablespoons ginger wine
½ teaspoon honey
1 – 1½ tablespoons miso combined with 2 tablespoons broth or water
1 – 2 tablespoons oil
Asian sesame oil
¼ – ½ cup broth or water

1. Add oil to preheated wok. Add shallots and garlic. Stir-fry until translucent.
2. Add eggplant, stir-fry 2 – 3 minutes, stir in soy sauce. Stir-fry until soy is absorbed. Stir in ginger wine and honey, stir-fry until wine is absorbed.
3. Add peppers. Stir-fry until green pepper becomes bright green. Add broth, bring to a boil. Cover and simmer about 3 – 4 minutes or until reached desired doneness. Adjust taste, adding more soy sauce, if needed.
4. Remove to serving platter, drizzle a bit of sesame oil on top and serve hot or at room temperature.

NOTE 1: Substitute any kind of eggplant for the Ping Tung.
NOTE 2: The heirloom peppers used in the prepared dish were harvested from Locust Grove Heritage Garden. They are, top to bottom: Chinese Giant (turns red when matured), Doe Hill Golden Bell, Jimmy Nardello and Doe Hill Golden Bell.

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Copyright © by Norma Chang. All Rights Reserved. Do not use/repost any photos and/or articles without permission.

Robin, The Gardener of Eden, is the host for Thursdays Kitchen Cupboard. Head on over to Thursday’s Kitchen Cupboard to see what others are cooking.

About Norma Chang

I am the author/publisher of 2 user-friendly Chinese cookbooks: "My Students' Favorite Chinese Recipes (updated edition)" and "Wokking Your Way to Low Fat Cooking" A gardener who enjoys cooking and eating and loves to think outside the box A garden volunteer at Locust Grove Heritage Vegetable Garden Conduct hands-on cooking workshops for teenagers Conduct cultural programs for children and family Conduct healthy cooking classes for adults
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62 Responses to Ping Tung Eggplant – Solanum melongena ‘Ping Tung’

  1. Annie says:

    For lunch today, we had eggplant and sweet pepper very similar to your posted recipe except that I didn’t put miso nor ginger wine…it was well appreciated by all… but perhaps it would even be better when I try your recipe next time:)

  2. My eggplant woes: First, flea beetles ravaged my plants, but the plants bounced back. Second, the woodchuck ate most of the leaves. Needless to say the plant produced no eggplant!

    Your dishes look (again) marvelous.

  3. Oh I would love to eat this. I have used these eggplant for Moroccan Eggplant Jam but that’s it. I must spread my wings, eggplantically speaking!

  4. Kristy says:

    I just love all things eggplant. I’ve only had the one variety though. Is there much of a taste difference?

  5. w says:

    Norma as usual I love reading your blog. I learn so much about food I have never had. However, I must admit I am not a fan of eggplant so don’t grow it. Tried growing it a couple of times and just didn’t have a long enough season.

  6. Dave says:

    Ping Tung is one of my favorite eggplants. I have never had a bitter one here. The stir fry sounds great. I never thought about combining them with peppers. I usually just do the eggplants by themselves, or with lots of veggies for a main course.

  7. Wow that’s a crazy looking eggplant! I love the flavours your paired it with in this dish, especially the ginger wine. I’m intrigued by that one! Thanks for linking up the Healthy Vegan Friday and have a great weekend!

  8. This looks like a delicious dish Norma!

  9. ChgoJohn says:

    Eggplants and peppers go so well together. They make a great base for so many vegetable dishes and it’s not summer until I’ve enjoyed a dish of them. One of my vegetable stands has a number of varieties of eggplant: big and baby “regular” eggplant; Japanese eggplant, Indian eggplant, and Chinese eggplant. Now, just what is the actual name of each is left a mystery. I do think I’ve seen the Ping Tung, though, and will try them the next time I do – or whatever it is I saw. 🙂

  10. A beautiful dish of colour and flavour my friend, that eggplant looks exquisite 🙂

    Choc Chip Uru

  11. We’re having a banner year in the eggplant patch, so I will try this recipe as soon as I can — it sounds great. (I love miso and eggplants together…)

  12. hotlyspiced says:

    I love these eggplants too. I use them in a Thai green chicken curry. Very yummy xx

  13. lnl says:

    I love love love Ping Tung Eggplants. we’re growing them this year alongside Rosa Bianca eggplants and unfortunately in my opinion the Rosa Biancas are inedible but the Ping Tungs are always delicious and so abundant. I’ve been putting them in everything. We have a countertop currently full of Ping Tungs and sweet peppers (Marconi and red Belgian). I’m definitely gonna have to try this recipe.

  14. Eha says:

    My first foray into the local nursery for spring plants hugely successful, but nurseryman has to find out about my request for Ping Tung eggplants. Very early in the season, lots of stuff still unavailable! During the past decade I have gone from a rather formal garden > the delight of almost a cottage garden and learnt how wonderful it is to ‘lose’ pots of herbs and vegetables amongst my oddly charming flowerbeds! Lost less sicknesses also!!

  15. Eha says:

    ‘Lost’ means ‘lots’, of course 🙂 !

  16. Paul Wynn says:

    Now that takes some serious talent to get an eggplant to that ginormous size! Kudos!

  17. Eva Taylor says:

    Thank you for the name Norma I always just called it Asian Eggplant! This one is by far my favourite too for all the wonderful characteristics you’ve mentioned. I adore the creaminess.
    Your recipe sounds and looks wonderful.
    I’m also encouraged in that it works well in a container. You’ve inspired me to get off my butt and do some serious container gardening next year.

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Eva,
      One plant in a large container will give you tons of fruits. You will need to keep it the soil moist and fertilize regularly.
      Will your tomatoes ripen before you leave for your trip?

      • Eva Taylor says:

        At this point, I doubt it very much. Today was overcast and rainy all day, and the garden really needed it, but sadly won’t help the green tomatoes.

  18. Robin says:

    I have several eggplants in the refrigerator right now. I think I will try your recipe for dinner tonight.

    I also start my eggplants in early March. They do take some time to grow.

  19. Karen says:

    I like the creamier texture of Japanese eggplant and to me they have a kind of sweet taste. Paired with the peppers, I’m sure the recipe is delicious.

  20. What a delicious looking eggplant! Love the color!

  21. So envious of all the goodies you have been harvesting from your garden. This looks perfect.

  22. Jen says:

    This looks very tasty, I have so many eggplants in need to cook up!

  23. Sophie33 says:

    A stunning long aubergine! i tasted them now & love them too. I recently bought them at my Asian food store! 😉 Your tasty recipe rocks! Lovely & colourful produce too, dear Norma! 🙂

  24. Katie says:

    This look so good! The next time I get some miso I’ll have to try this.

  25. Hi Norma, I just got some of those eggplants at Saturday Farmer’s market. What I love the most about those eggplants that they don’t require extra prep-work: just cut and cook. They taste fantastic! I would love to grow them, do you have an online source for seeds, that you can recommend?

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Marina,
      Glad the eggplants are available at your farmers’ market. Are seedlings sold there too? You could buy the seedlings and get a head start. Many seed catalogs now carry Ping Tung eggplant. Given the cost for postage and handling, I get my seeds from whomever I am placing an order. You could try Evergreenseeds also. Agree, these eggplants don’t require extra prep-work, just cut and cook.

  26. Ginny says:

    Hi Norma,
    Your recipe was delicious! – I’ll definitely make this again and again. I had 3 eggplants ( 2 Pingtung and 1 Orient Express) from my garden and needed to cook them up today. I only had Carmen sweet red peppers from my garden – but will try to use several varieites (to make it more colorful and tasty) the next time I make it. And I didn’t have any shallots handy – so used some small Cabernet (red) onions that were in the garden. We really enjoyed the dish! Found that the Pingtung just about melt in your mouth – they are so tender; the Orient Express were still quite good but not quite as tender. Thanks for sharing your recipe – hope to see you at the next MG meeting.

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Ginny,
      Glad you liked my recipe. Yes, the Ping Tung does melt in your mouth. Use it to make eggplant parm, really good. Hope MG will be having Ping Tung seedlings at the spring plant sale again.

  27. leduesorelle says:

    Thanks for posting about the Ping Tung! We’ve been growing a Orient Express, which appears to be a hybrid of this, and will plan to switch over the PT next season.

  28. Saskia says:

    This looks and sounds delicious! So colourful. Eggplant and miso are two of my favourite ingredients (Nasu Dengaku is one of my top ten favourite meals) so I’m looking forward to trying this.

  29. Pingback: Harvest Monday, September 8, 2014 | Garden to Wok

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