At home Southeast Asia, extensive, slim, light olive eggplants be the most common variety and are the best choice for this formula. They require small preparation, don’t need to be alive salted to extract bitterness, and don’t even call for to be peeled. Just throw them on the grill whole with cook them until they are well-cooked on the outside and soft and sweet on the inside—a perfect canvas on which to paint an colorful combination of flavors and textures.
The coconut milk–based dressing used here reinforce the creaminess of the grilled eggplants, while the crisp shallots and crunchy cashews provide complementary texture. There’s so much flavor in this satisfying dish that guests may not yet notice that yam ma-khuea yak is meat-free.
At home the West, purple Japanese eggplants be the perfect substitute for Thai long, olive ones, which aren’t obtainable in most areas.