Pork and eggplant salad

Pork and eggplant salad

Leanne Kitchen

Here’s a version of a favourite salad we first encountered years ago at Sompon Nabnian’s famed Chiang Mai Thai Cooking School in north Thailand. In that region the flavours are fierce and somewhat herbal, and lack the tempering effects of coconut milk and sugar so prevalent in southern Thailand. If you’ve never eaten raw apple eggplant before, then do give this a go. It provides a fantastic, crisp, slightly bitter note to this rich yet rustic dish.


Quantity Ingredient
1 tablespoon salt
500g apple eggplants, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
250g minced pork, not too lean
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 lemongrass stems, trimmed and thinly sliced, white part only
2 spring onions, trimmed and thinly sliced
2 large green chillies, thinly sliced
large handful coriander sprigs
35g Fried shallots
lime wedges, to serve


Quantity Ingredient
10-12 green bird’s eye chillies, coarsely chopped
8 small red asian shallots, coarsely chopped
4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons gapi (thai shrimp paste)

To serve

Quantity Ingredient
Sticky rice


  1. For the paste, combine all the ingredients in a small food processor and process until smooth. Alternatively, use a mortar and pestle.
  2. Put the salt in a bowl filled with cold water, add the eggplant slices and stand for 10 minutes. Drain well and pat dry using paper towel.
  3. Meanwhile, in a wok over medium–high heat, cook the paste in the oil, stirring, for 2–3 minutes or until the shallots in the paste lose their raw smell. Add the pork and cook, stirring to break up the meat, for 4–5 minutes or until the meat is cooked through. Stir in the fish sauce, add the drained eggplant slices and toss to combine well.
  4. Remove the wok from the heat, add the lemongrass and three-quarters of the spring onion, chillies, coriander and fried shallots. Season well with freshly ground black pepper and toss to combine well.
  5. Divide among serving bowls and scatter over the remaining spring onion, chilli, coriander and fried shallots. Serve warm or at room temperature with the lime wedges for squeezing over.
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