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The FOOD magazine is a community of foodies, bon-vivants, and quite simply food aficionados! The aim is to establish a bridge between readers looking for inspiring recipes and ideas and the content creators who share their creative cooking and expertise with the community. Whether it's your favorite new recipe, cooking hacks, experimental "ethnic" cooking, vegetarian/vegan options, or new grilling techniques... we'll have it here on the FOOD blog!

Thai Grilled Eggplant Salad Recipe - Yum Makeua Yao – Discover the wonders of this Rambunctious Eggplant Salad

Thai Eggplants — by David Smith
Thai Eggplants — by David Smith

Grilled Thai Eggplant Salad Recipe (Pronounced - Yum Ma-coo-a Yow!)

3-4 Long Green Thai Eggplants (Berenjena Tailandesa)

1 head of garlic, about 8-10 cloves (Ajo)

¼-1/3 cup of Sliced Shallots (Chalote)

1/3-1/2 Cup of Ground Pork, Beef or Chicken (Carne molida de Cerdo, Res or Pollo)

2 Tablespoons of water

Chopped green onion and cilantro to garnish (Cebolleta y Cilantro - las guarniciones)

1-5 Thai Chilis


1 teaspoon Sugar (Azúcar)

1 Tablespoon Lemon or Lime juice (Jugo de lima o limón)

Salt to taste, I suggest 1-2 teaspoons (Sal)

Yum Makeua Yao - Thai Eggplant Salad — by David Smith
Yum Makeua Yao - Thai Eggplant Salad — by David Smith

Grilled Thai Eggplant

Grill the eggplant until the outside is mostly toasted and inside is soft. Remove the skin by peeling it off. Although, it is okay if small amounts of skin are left on. Then chop the flesh of the eggplant into mouth-sized cubes of about an inch. And then place the eggplant on the bottom layer of your serving dish.

Thai Fried Garlic with Skin — by David Smith
Thai Fried Garlic with Skin — by David Smith

Thai-Style Eggplant Salad needs Fried Garlic

Fry the garlic in a small amount of oil. Thais traditionally eat the garlic skin and all (see pictured). Even though Thai garlic grows somewhat smaller, I am not a fan of eating garlic skin and always peel off the entirety of the skin of the garlic. Normally, Thai people are used to eating the garlic skin in many of their dishes. 

As a guideline, a good picture for how you should prepare the garlic is from my topper recipe of Garlic and Shallots. The idea is smash and peel, then very roughly chop or slice the garlic. One clove gets chopped into about 4-6 pieces or chunks.

Simply, fry the garlic until it is golden brown and then drain on paper towels, save for the topping later. At this point you can also slice the chilies and chop the green onion and cilantro.

Meat-making for Northern Thai Eggplant Salad

Put the meat and the water in a small trying pan or pot. Loosely break up the meat with a spoon or spatula. As such, the meat and water help form part of a simple sauce that you pour over the eggplant. In case too much water evaporates while cooking, you may need to add an additional tablespoon or two of liquid.

After the meat finishes cooking, add the sugar, salt and lime or lemon juice to the meat mix and stir.

Pour the meat and liquid mixture over the top of the cooked eggplant in the serving dish. Next, put the shallots over the meat mixture. Then sprinkle over the top the remaining ingredients, starting with the fried garlic, chilies, and finishing with the cilantro and green onion.

Chili Bombs of Yum Makeua Yao

Obviously if you are not used to eating spicy food, then I would suggest forgoing the chilies. Please understand, the number range is just a suggestion. You could also try chopping up your favorite kind of sweeter pepper. As well, I believe sweet bell peppers (pimentón) would add great flavor to the dish. If you like something pickled, you could also try pickled banana peppers, a little bit of spice and zing.

Importantly, I like to add the chilies last so I know exactly where they are. If the heat becomes too intense, my strategy is to avoid the chilies for a the next few mouthfuls.

Thai Eggplant Salad - Yum Makeua Yao  — by David Smith
Thai Eggplant Salad - Yum Makeua Yao  — by David Smith

Eat Thai Eggplant Salad with Rice

As rice is staple in the Thai diet, it is also the most common carb to eat with dishes like Yum Makeua Yao. And I think it goes really well with this dish, too. And you could easily substitute cauliflower rice. Or double down on the eggplant and eat the salad just like that. Still with the meat and all the toppings, but no extra carbs.

Honestly, I hope you enjoy this dish, it is simple and flavorful. The grilling helps intensify the flavors of the eggplant. This Thai Grilled Eggplant Salad Recipe is one of my favorite ways to eat eggplant.