- Dried Shrimp 4 Tbs (omit if making a vegetarian/vegan version)
- Egg 1 large, at room temperature
- Long Purple Japanese Aubergines 2 or 1 regular Italian aubergine
- Red Onion 1/2 small, thinly sliced with the grain of the onion
- Makrut Lime Leaves (fresh or frozen) 2, finely shredded
- Cilantro Leaves 4 Tbs
- Mint Leaves 3 Tbs
For the salad dressing (nahm yum)
- Palm Sugar 2 Tbs
- Water 1 Tbs
- Fish Sauce 1½ Tbs (or use thin light soy sauce for a vegetarian/ vegan version)
- Lime Juice 2 Tbs
- Red Pepper Flakes1 1 tsp
- Light a charcoal grill or preheat an indoor grill (broiler), if using.
- To make the dressing, mix all the ingredients together in a pestle and mortar until the sugar has completely dissolved. It will taste spicy, sweet and sour with a salty finish. Set aside.
- To prepare the shrimp, if using, pound the dried shrimp in a stone pestle and mortar until a floss-like texture is achieved. Alternatively, use a spice grinder or small food processor to achieve a light flossed texture. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks if making a larger quantity.
- Bring a small saucepan of water to the boil and cook the egg to your liking. I prefer an egg with a fudgy yolk, so I boil mine for 6 minutes before plunging it into a bowl of iced water. Once cool enough to handle, peel the egg and set aside for later.
- Grill the aubergines over hot coals, or over the highest flame on your hob, or under a very hot grill. The skins need to be completely blackened so the flesh inside becomes soft and tender with a smoky flavour. Leave until cool enough to handle, then peel off the blackened skins and discard. Roughly chop the aubergine flesh while still warm and arrange on a serving plate.
- Combine the sliced onion, makrut lime leaves, coriander and mint in a medium bowl with the dressing. Gently toss the salad together and arrange over the aubergine, then pour over any remaining dressing. Halve the soft-boiled egg and place on top of the salad. Finish by generously sprinkling with the shrimp floss.
1 According to John Chantarasak, red pepper flakes are an acceptable substitute for prik bon, Toasted Chilli Powder. If you prefer to make prik bon, find John’s recipe here.