Botanically it is a fruit which is widely used in Indian cuisine. Infact it is native to the Indian subcontinent. It is purple colored with a whitish, hard flesh. It is available in various sizes and is eaten cooked.
It becomes very tender when cooked. The raw fruit has a somewhat bitter taste, that is why it is advised to rinse and salt it for a while before cooking. It is known to absorb a lot of fat, salting it also helps in lesser absorption of oil while it is being cooked. In England it is known as aubergine and in America it is known as eggplant.