The fruits of pea eggplant are only the part used in Thai cooking. With its bitter and harsh flavour, it is often added in some Thai spicy dishes.
It has various names like pea eggplant, turkey berry, wild eggplant, etc., but it is called ma kheua puang in Thai. Its fruits grow in clusters of tiny green spheres with about 1 cm. in diameter and look like green pea, each containing numerous flat and round seeds in brown colour.
Thais often think of harmony, contrast, balance, colours, flavours and even functions of each ingredient added into their dishes. In making kaeng phed (red curry) and kaeng kheow whan (green curry), besides long bean, pumpkin, wax gourd, etc., a pair of pea eggplants and round eggplants is the most popular choice added in their recipes. There is the inherited belief showing that the pea eggplant may help in digestion, especially coconut milk added that seems difficult to digest.
In making a kaeng panang or panang curry, the thickest version among Thai curries, a pair of pea eggplants and finely shredded makrut leaves is often added to express its distinct characteristic and flavour.
Pea eggplant is a great choice to add in making namprik kapi, a favourite spicy dip eaten along with fresh or parboiled vegetables and grilled or fried fish, to have a better flavour.
Phad phed pladook, a spicy dish made with catfish stir-fried with curry paste, is another dish often including the pea eggplants in its recipe.