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< Back to Recipes
Spicy Aubergine Salad with Peanuts, Herbs, Eggs and Jaggery Fox Nuts
Spicy Aubergine Salad with Peanuts, Herbs, Eggs and Jaggery Fox Nuts
Other
Starter
1.5 hours
Vegetables/vegetarian
Easy
Serves
4 as a starter, or 2 as a main with rice

Smoky, sweet, fiery, and fresh, this aubergine salad recipe from Marylebone restaurant Jikoni has it all. As chef Ravinder Bhogal notes: "In his book How to Pick a Peach, American food writer Russ Parsons says, ‘Let’s get one thing straight: most eggplants are not bitter (even though they have the right to be after everything that has been said about them).’ Far from being bitter, the eggplant – or aubergine, as it is more commonly known in the UK – is the king of vegetables. Meaty and smoky when fire-roasted, aubergines stand up well to a thrillingly fiery and sharp dressing. Fox nuts are the seeds from a species of waterlily that grows in India, China and Japan. Here they bring crunch and sweetness, but you could use honey-roasted peanuts instead."

Jikoni: Proudly Inauthentic Recipes from an Immigrant Kitchen (Bloomsbury Publishing, £26) is out now. Photography by Kristin Perers.

Recipe courtesy of
Ingredients
  • 2 large aubergines
  • 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1–2 red bird’s eye chillies, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp palm sugar
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 4 spring onions, thinly sliced
  • Handful of beansprouts
  • Handful of pea shoots
  • Handful of mint leaves
  • Handful of coriander leaves
  • Small handful of Thai basil leaves, torn
  • 2 tbsp crisp-fried shallots or onions
  • 3 tbsp roughly crushed salted roast peanuts
  • 2 medium-boiled eggs, shelled
  • Steamed jasmine rice, to serve – optional

For the jaggery fox nuts

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 80g fox nuts (phool makhana) 
  • 100g jaggery, grated
  • Pinch of chilli flakes
Method
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Method
  1. For the jaggery fox nuts, line a baking tray with baking parchment. Melt the coconut oil in a frying pan over low–medium heat, add the fox nuts and cook for 7–10 minutes until they are crisp. Spread out over the baking tray. In a small saucepan, heat the jaggery until it is golden and molten, then sprinkle in the chilli flakes. Pour the jaggery all over the fox nuts and leave to dry. These are wonderful as a snack in their own right. 
  2. Prick the aubergines all over with a fork – this will stop them exploding! Grill on a chargrill or barbecue, under a hot grill, or over an open gas flame on the cooker. Turn and cook all over until they are really soft and the skin is charred. Leave to cool. 
  3. Using a pestle and mortar, pound the garlic, chillies and palm sugar to a paste. Stir in the fish sauce and lime juice to loosen to a dressing consistency.
    Peel the skin off the aubergines, then cut them lengthways into quarters and lay on a serving platter. 
  4. In a bowl, mix together the spring onions, beansprouts, pea shoots, mint, coriander and basil leaves. Pour in the dressing and toss well, then scatter the lot over the aubergine. Sprinkle with the crispy shallots or onions, peanuts and a handful of the jaggery fox nuts. Halve the eggs and lay on top of the salad, then eat as is – or, to make more of a meal of it, serve with steamed jasmine rice.

The Pass was created to help the many people now struggling to feed themselves and their families as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. If you like or use this recipe, please consider making a small donation to Hospitality Action to help those whose livelihoods have all but disappeared.

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