Crispy Eggplant Salad with Tomatoes, Herbs, and Fried Shallo

3 servings



total time


2 tablespoons, fish sauce

2 tablespoons, unseasoned rice vinegar

2 tablespoons, lime juice

2 tablespoons (⅞ ounce) palm, sugar

1 (1-inch piece), ginger, peeled and chopped coarse

2 , garlic cloves, chopped coarse

1/2 red, Thai chile, seeded and sliced thin

1 cup, cherry tomatoes, halved

2 large Japanese, eggplants (1 ½ pounds), sliced in half lengthwise, then cut crosswise into 1½-inch pieces

1 teaspoon, kosher salt

2 cups, vegetable oil, for frying

½ cup, fresh cilantro leaves

½ cup, fresh mint leaves

½ cup fresh, Thai basil leaves

½ cup fried, shallots


Recipe Instructions

Seasoned rice wine vinegar contains added sugar, salt, and often MSG. Because seasonings can vary considerably from product to product, we opt for the unseasoned stuff so we have full control. Palm sugar is made from the sap of the Asian sugar palm, which is boiled down to a crystallized mass. It is often formed into hockey puck–size disks. You can find it online here . Palm sugar yields the best results for this recipe, but an equal amount of light brown sugar can be substituted. Japanese eggplant was our unanimous favorite when we tested this recipe, but globe eggplant can be substituted if necessary. Genovese basil is a fine substitute for the Thai basil. Chopped roasted peanuts make for a crunchy substitute for the fried shallots . Depending on the size of your microwave, the process described in step 2 may need to be split into 2 rounds. If the eggplant is piled up, it will steam rather than dehydrate. Serve this salad with sticky rice, a nice grilled rib eye, or both.

Process fish sauce, vinegar, lime juice, palm sugar, ginger, garlic, and chiles in blender on high until ginger, garlic, and palm sugar are broken down and dressing is mostly smooth, about 1 minute. Transfer to medium serving bowl and stir in tomatoes. Set aside while preparing eggplant.

Toss eggplant and salt together in medium bowl. Line entire surface of large microwave-safe dish with double layer of coffee filters and lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray. Spread eggplant in even layer over coffee filters. Microwave on high power until eggplant feels dry and pieces shrink to about 1 inch, about 10 minutes, flipping halfway through to dry sides evenly. Remove eggplant from microwave and immediately transfer to paper towel–lined plate.

Heat oil in large Dutch oven over high heat to 375 degrees F/190 degrees C. Fry eggplant, stirring occasionally, until flesh is deep golden brown and edges are crispy, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to paper towel–lined baking sheet or plate and blot to remove excess oil. Transfer to bowl with tomatoes and toss to evenly dress.

Toss cilantro, mint, and basil together in small bowl. Thoroughly fold half of herb mixture into eggplant. Top eggplant mixture with remaining herb mixture and sprinkle with fried shallots . Serve.

Test Kitchen Techniques


Serving Size




Total Fat

61 g

Saturated Fat

4 g

Unsaturated Fat

43 g

Trans Fat

0 g


0 miligrams


1070 miligrams

Total Carbohydrate

24 g

Dietary Fiber


Total Sugars

19 g


5 g

3 servings



total time
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