Sunday, May 20, 2012

Mina’s Coconut Aubergine Salad with Thai Herbs

This is the second dish which Mina taught me on my heavenly island cooking course on Koh Yao Noi. Mina is a local lady who runs the island’s only cooking school. Her food is elegant, healthy, home-made and downright gorgeous.

Mina's selection of herbs and veggies for the cooking class

This dish was so tasty that I showcased it at my first supper club and it went down a treat.

I always get so excited when I unearth a new ingredient. This dish gave me a chance to use wing beans, my new discovery. They’re an eccentric relative of the green bean – tasty, crunchy and make an X-shape when you slice them.

My new friends - wing beans!

This dish encapsulates what I love about Thai cooking – strong, delicious, clean flavours and healthy nutritious food.  As the lovely Mina cooked this for me, she explained that herbs in Thailand are as much about their medicinal properties as they are about flavour. Galangal, lemongrass and coriander all believed to be good for the heart and the digestive system. So you’re actually doing your body a favour by eating this. Don’t mind if I do!


1 aubergine
Small handful green beans (or wing beans)
4 small shallots or ½ small red onion
1 Thai aubergine (if you can find it)
6 tbsp desiccated/grated dried coconut
2 sticks lemongrass
2 small red chillies
3 slices ginger or galangal
Small bunch coriander
2 shallots or ¼ red onion to garnish (deep fried)

For the dressing:
Juice 1 lime
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tsp brown sugar


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Pierce the aubergine several times with a fork. Place on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for about 30mins or until soft all the way through. Allow to cool and dice into chunks about 1 inch in thickness.
  2. Spread the coconut out on a baking tray and roast in the oven for about 2 mins until lightly toasted. Keep an eye on it as it can burn easily.
  3. Very finely slice the garnish shallot/red onion. Heat a few tbsp oil in a small pan. When it is very hot add the shallot/onion and deep fry til golden brown and crispy. Remove and place on a piece of kitchen roll to soak up excess oil. Allow to cool and set aside.
  4. Next prepare the other salad ingredients. Remove the coarse outer layer of the lemongrass. Very finely slice the lemongrass sticks horizontally. Finely chop/mince the ginger, chilli and shallots. Leave the seeds in the chilli and chop them up too if you want it hot, remove otherwise. Finely slice the beans width-ways about 5mm thick. Coarsely chop the coriander. Finely slice the Thai aubergine if you are using it.
  5. Combine all the salad ingredients in a large bowl.
  6. Mix together the dressing ingredients and pour over the salad. Toss well and serve with the fried shallot as a garnish.

1 comment:

  1. How refreshing and delicious to have an eggplant salad - it looks wonderful :D

    Choc Chip Uru