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Grilled Eggplant Salad | Yum Makeua Yao | ยำมะเขือ

Grilled Eggplant Salad | Yum Makeua Yao | ยำมะเขือ

For being away from Thailand for so many years, the boyfriend has pretty discriminating Thai taste buds.

Take, as an example, the time a few weeks ago when I served him my Thai-style grilled eggplant salad.  This salad was composed of grilled slices of Thai eggplant topped with the classic chili, lime, and fish sauce dressing and some fresh herbs.  It certainly wasn’t too much of a stretch from being “authentic” Thai, but it also wasn’t the traditional version of this dish, which calls for roasting the eggplant whole and then combining the soft, smoky-flavored flesh with the above ingredients in addition to dried shrimp and boiled eggs.

Grilled Eggplant Salad | Yum Makeua Yao | ยำมะเขือ

I had decided to go the “Thai-style” route because I knew that I would enjoy that salad, and besides, it’s easier to take photos of grilled eggplant slices than mushy roasted eggplant innards.

And the boyfriend did enjoy this Thai-style eggplant salad when I served it to him.  But no more than two bites into the dish, he stopped eating and said, “This would be great with some boiled eggs”.

Grilled Eggplant Salad | Yum Makeua Yao | ยำมะเขือ

I’m not sure if he knew that I was attempting a Thai-style salad rather than making the traditional version, or if he had never had the more authentic version and really just thought it would taste better with eggs.

In any case, his comment prompted me to try the more traditional version of this dish, and I’m glad I did.  It really is an awesome salad, mushy roasted eggplant innards, eggs, and all.  The mild sweetness of the roasted eggplant plays well against the strong, bright flavors of lime, chili, and fresh herbs.  And somehow the egg adds substance that you didn’t even know was missing, with the end result being a wonderfully light, yet completely filling Thai salad.  I hope you’ll give it a try too!

Thai Grilled Eggplant Salad | Yum Makeua Yao | ยำมะเขือ

Makes 3-4 servings

Thai Grilled Eggplant Salad | Yum Makeua Yao | ยำมะเขือ


  • 2 Japanese eggplants
  • 2 Tablespoons shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, coarsely chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried chili flakes
  • 1 teaspoon dried shrimp, shredded
  • 2 eggs


  1. Place the whole eggplant on the grill over medium high heat. Allow the eggplant to cook, turning occasionally. It is done when the skin is thoroughly charred and the eggplant is soft to the touch. Remove from the grill and let cool in a covered container.
  2. Chop the cilantro coarsely and the shallots thinly. Place the dried shrimp in a blender or food processor and pulse until they become fine shreds.
  3. Boil the eggs for approximately 7 minutes to achieve a soft boiled egg. Allow to cool and then peel.
  4. Prepare your dressing by combining the fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, and dried chili flakes.
  5. Once the eggplant has cooled, peel away the charred skin and slice the eggplant into bite-sized pieces. You should have roughly 1 cup of cooked eggplant. If you have more or less, adjust the amounts of the other ingredients accordingly.
  6. Combine the cooked eggplant with the chopped fresh herbs, shredded dried shrimp, and salad dressing. Slice the soft boiled eggs in half and arrange to the side of the salad. Serve while the eggplant is still slightly warm.


9 comments… add one
  • Michelle August 9, 2017, 1:30 am

    Can we leave out shrimp flakes? Is there a substitute?

    • Rachel August 12, 2017, 2:30 pm

      Hi Michelle, yes, you can leave the dried shrimp out completely, or sub it for fresh shrimp or even a fish like salmon…

  • dr gerald stulc June 1, 2014, 10:17 pm

    Just got back from a month in Ching Mai, Thailand, fell in love with yum makhuae yao, can’t wait to try this recipe. Can regular eggplants be used?

    • Rachel June 6, 2014, 1:22 pm

      I haven’t tried making it with regular eggplants… Let me know how they work, if you do try them.

  • Irina @ wandercrush August 29, 2013, 4:08 pm

    Lovely! Eggplants are all over the markets around this time, and surprisingly NYC has a ton of nice local varieties… this salad is begging to be made. Thank you :)

  • Carolyn August 28, 2013, 11:10 am

    I love grilled eggplant and this looks wonderful. I have 3 eggplants from the farmer’s market, I may need to try making this!

    • Rachel September 5, 2013, 2:04 pm

      I hope you do! We’ve really been enjoying it around here!

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