This Japanese eggplant salad is eggplant nirvana, adding the lime juice while the eggplant is still hot gives it a delicious lime citrus hit.
This Japanese Eggplant Salad came about because I had bought a tree of coriander (cilantro) from our Asian greengrocer and had run across some gorgeous Japanese eggplants on my way home.
I combined these basic ingredients with one of my all-time flavour combinations – fresh coriander, lime and sesame and viola eggplant nirvana!
This salad pairs well with white fish, shellfish, pork, lamb and chicken. It would make a great side for your next Asian banquet or barbecue.
Try it with:
What are Japanese eggplants?
Japanese (or Lebanese) eggplants are a long, slender oblong-shaped variety of eggplant. They have a glossy, smooth skin that is thin with a very dark purple almost black colour. Inside you will find a cream coloured flesh that is spongy and almost seedless. Their thin skin and sponginess allow them to easily absorb other flavours.
They are very similar to Chinese eggplants; the difference is that Chinese eggplants have a lighter colour more of a light lilac purple and are sometimes longer with even fewer seeds.
Can I substitute Japanese eggplants with regular eggplants?
You can substitute with ordinary globe eggplants just be conscious that the “eggplanty” flavour will be more pronounced.
If you are going to use globe eggplants cut them in long batons to get a similar look to the Japanese eggplants used in this salad. Cut the eggplant lengthwise in half, then into quarters or thirds (depending on its size).
How to make this Japanese eggplant salad…
1Preparing your eggplant…
Wash your eggplants and remove the tops and ends, cut them in half lengthwise. Using a sharp knife cut partway into the white flesh on a diagonal in a cross-hatch pattern to make them look more attractive.
Place them in a large mixing bowl with the 3 tablespoons of MCT oil and one tablespoon sesame oil, season with some salt, pepper and toss until combined.
WASH AND TRIM YOUR EGGPLANTS
CUT YOUR EGGPLANT IN HALF LENGTHWISE
CUT THE FLESH INTO A DIAGONAL CROSSHATCH
SEASON, ADD THE OILS AND MIX UNTIL COATED
2Grilling your eggplant…
Preheat your barbecue to medium or use a large heavy-based frypan on medium heat.
Whatever you do, don’t be tempted to turn the heat up to high as the eggplant will burn and not cook through with the outside becoming hard and rubbery when it is overcooked.
Place your eggplant face down on your barbecue and cook for 4 minutes until it turns a golden brown. Turn over, and cook for a further 3 to 4 minutes. To check if it is ready, squeeze the side of the eggplant, it should feel soft and spongy.
PLACE THEM FACE DOWN ON A BBQ HEATED ON MEDIUM
TURN THEM AFTER 4 MINUTES WHEN GOLDEN
PLACE IN A BOWL & POUR IN THE LIME JUICE WHILE THEY ARE STILL HOT
MARINATE FOR A FEW MINUTES
2Putting your Japanese eggplant salad together..
When your eggplant is done, place it in a large mixing bowl and immediately pour the lime juice on top, which will be quickly absorbed into the hot eggplant as well as cooling it down slightly. Then cut them in the middle with a pair of kitchen scissors so that they are easier to handle and to eat.
While your eggplant is marinating, wash the coriander, shake to remove excess water, cut off the stalks and chop roughly, then slice your chilli on the diagonal.
Add the chopped coriander, the remaining 1 tablespoon of MCT oil and ½ tablespoon sesame oil, the sliced chilli and sesame seeds and toss until well combined, taste and adjust seasonings according to your taste.
Arrange in a salad bowl and serve when ready.
PLACE ALL YOUR INGREDIENTS IN A MIXING BOWL
TOSS UNTIL WELL COMBINED
Tips for making this salad…
Whether you grill the eggplant on your barbecue for some added smokiness or you pan fry it this is a sensational salad. Just keep a couple of things in mind when you are making it:
- It must be cooked on medium heat whatever you do, do not rush it and turn the heat up to high! The eggplant will burn on the outside making it hard and chewy with the inside becoming dense and rubbery instead of the creamy, melting deliciousness a well-cooked eggplant should be.
- You must add the lime juice to your eggplant while it is hot otherwise it will not be as easily absorbed into the eggplant and give it a delicious citrusy hit.
Try some more eggplant recipes…
- 800 grams Japanese eggplants (aubergines) (approximately 8 small)
- 1 ½ tbsp sesame oil (Asian style)
- 4 tbsps MCT oil (or extra virgin olive oil)
- ¼ cup lime juice (approximately 3 limes)
- 30 grams coriander (cilantro) (1 small bunch – ½ cup chopped leaves)
- 1 long red chilli (optional)
- 2 tbsps sesame seeds (toasted)
- Sea salt and cracked black pepper
- Wash and trim your eggplants, cut them in half lengthwise. Cut partway into the white flesh on a diagonal in a cross-hatch pattern.
- Place them in a large mixing bowl with the 3 tablespoons of MCT oil and 1 tablespoon sesame oil, season with some salt and pepper and toss until combined.
- Preheat your barbecue to medium or use a large heavy-based frypan on medium heat.
Place your eggplant face down on your barbecue and cook for 4 minutes until it turns a light golden brown. Turn over, and cook for a further 3 to 4 minutes.
To check if it is ready, squeeze the side of the eggplant, it should feel soft and spongy.
- When your eggplant is done, place it in a large mixing bowl and immediately pour the lime juice on top. Then cut them in the middle with a pair of kitchen scissors so that they are easier to manage and to eat. Allow them to marinate in the lime juice.
- While your eggplant is marinating, wash the coriander, cut off the stalks and chop roughly and slice your chilli on the diagonal.
- Add the chopped coriander, the remaining 1 tablespoon of MCT and ½ tablespoon sesame oil, the sliced chilli and sesame seeds and toss until well combined, taste and adjust seasonings according to your taste
- Arrange in a salad bowl and serve when ready.