10-12 long Japanese eggplants
vegetable oil for brushing
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tomatoes, seeds squeezed out, finely chopped
1 tablespoon finely julienned fresh ginger
2 spring onions, sliced finely on the diagonal
1 lebanese cucumber, julienned
½ cup coriander leaves
¼ cup roasted peanuts or cashew nuts, roughly chopped
100 ml lime juice
3 tablespoons fish sauce
1 long red chilli, seeded and finely chopped
2 tablespoons sweet chilli sauce
1 teaspoon caster sugar
Brush the eggplants with a little oil and season. Grill on a ridged grill or barbecue until tender and fully cooked but not falling apart. Under-cooked eggplant is bitter and unpleasant to eat. Set aside until ready to eat.
Dressing: Whisk the lime juice, fish sauce, chilli and sweet chilli sauce in a bowl. Add sugar to taste. It should be hot, sour, salty and only a little sweet. Adjust with lime juice and fish sauce if necessary.
To serve: Arrange the eggplants on a serving platter. Cut a slit along the top of each eggplant and gently pull apart, keeping the eggplants whole. Spoon half the dressing over. Combine the salad ingredients and toss with enough dressing to lightly coat. Stack the salad over the eggplants leaving the ends exposed. Serve at room temperature.