Vietnamese Grilled Eggplant with Scallion Oil (Ca Tim Nuong Mo Hanh)

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Vietnamese Grilled Eggplant with Scallion Oil (Ca Tim Nuong Mo Hanh) is a rustic Southern dish. Whole eggplants are grilled until charred and served with fragrant scallion oil, fish sauce dressing and roasted peanuts.

a plate of Vietnamese grilled eggplant with scallion oil

What is Ca Tim Nuong Mo Hanh

Cà tím nướng mỡ hành is a quick and easy Southern Vietnamese eggplant dish, which can be served as a fun appetizer or side dish. I like how light it is while still having a lot of different flavors and textures.

Whole eggplants are grilled until charred on the outside and sweet and creamy on the inside. A generous drizzle of the traditional lime fish sauce dressing (nuoc cham) will add saltiness, sweetness, and sourness. The scallion oil adds aroma and some richness. Finally, top the dish with a sprinkle of roasted peanuts for some crunch.

Watch the Cooking Steps

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Grill whole eggplants

To make ca tim nuong mo hanh, first you will need some Asian eggplants. They are long and slender with a thin purple skin and a delicate sweet flavor. You can find them at Asian grocery stores.

plates with ingredients for Vietnamese grilled eggplants

Grilling is a great way to cook whole eggplants because it is easy and adds a nice charred taste to the eggplants. I use my Staub grill pan to cook them and I’m sure an outdoor grill will also work.

If you don’t have a grill pan or an outdoor grill, you can roast them in the oven. This method will take longer to cook and there won’t be a charred taste. However, I have tried it and the dish still turns out tasty.

Grilling whole eggplants

Before grilling or roasting whole eggplants, poke a few holes around them to prevent bursting during the cooking process. Grill until the skin is charred and there is no resistance when you insert a chopstick or fork into the eggplants. The inside should be really soft and creamy.

Prepare the sauce and scallion oil

The scallion oil requires just two ingredients, scallion and oil. Neutral-flavored oil is often recommended here. As for me, I like to use light olive oil to make it. Scallion oil is a popular topping for various Vietnamese grilled dishes, such as Vietnamese grilled pork chops, grilled corn or grilled oysters.

cooking scallion oil

There are two quick ways to make the scallion oil:

  • Heat the oil until it is hot, then add chopped scallion to the hot oil. Stir and cook very briefly.
  • Heat the oil until it is hot, then pour the hot oil over chopped scallion. Stir well.

Both ways are quick and easy with the same result. Just make sure the oil should be hot enough so that once added, the scallion would sizzle immediately.

For the dressing, you will need fish sauce, sugar and a squeeze of lime juice. I also add minced garlic and bird’s-eye chili for extra flavor and heat. If you want to keep the dish vegan, you can use salt in the dressing instead of fish sauce.

a plate of Vietnamese grilled eggplant (ca tim nuong mo hanh)

How to Serve

Before serving ca tim nuong mo hanh, you will need to peel and discard the skin. I like to slice the eggplants into bite-sized pieces as in the video to make it easier to eat. Some people like to leave them whole when serving and that also works. If leaving them whole, you can run a fork along the peeled eggplant to separate the flesh into strips. The flesh will absorb the dressing/sauce more that way.

drizzle fish sauce dressing over grilled eggplants

Next, simply drizzle as much dressing and scallion oil as you want and sprinkle roasted peanuts generously on top. This is how you make this rustic and humble Vietnamese grilled eggplant dish flavorful and fun to eat.

Variation

Vietnamese grilled whole eggplant is very light. When I want to make it more substantial to be a main dish, I will stir-fry some ground pork with minced shallot, garlic and fish sauce. The sautéed ground meat will then be an additional topping on the eggplants.

In the photo above, the eggplants were roasted in the oven. I left them whole and topped with ground pork, scallion oil, dressing and peanuts.

⭐️ I’d love to hear what you think about the dish, so please feel free to leave a comment and a rating if you have tried it. New recipes are added every week so let’s connect on FacebookYoutubePinterest and Instagram for the latest updates. You can find my collection of Vietnamese recipes here.

a plate of Vietnamese grilled eggplant (ca tim nuong mo hanh)

Vietnamese Grilled Eggplant with Scallion Oil

Vietnamese Grilled Eggplant with Scallion Oil (Ca Tim Nuong Mo Hanh) is a rustic Southern dish. Whole eggplants are grilled until charred and served with fragrant scallion oil, fish sauce dressing and roasted peanuts.
Author: Sophie
5 from 2 votes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 40 minutes
Total: 45 minutes
Servings: 3 people

Ingredients
 

  • 2 Asian eggplants (about 21 oz / 600g)

For the dressing/sauce

  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 – 1½ teaspoons lime juice
  • 1/2 tablespoon sugar
  • 4 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 bird's-eye chili, seeds removed and minced (optional)

For the scallion oil

  • 3 tablespoons cooking oil (light olive oil or neutral-flavored oil)
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup thinly-sliced scallions, green parts only (about 6-8 stalks or 30g)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

To serve

  • 1/4 cup roasted peanuts, lightly crushed (about 45g)

Instructions
 

  • Heat a grill pan over medium heat. Use a toothpick or chopstick to poke a few holes around the eggplants. Place them on the grill and grill until the outside is charred and the inside is very soft and creamy, about 30-40 minutes. Rotate every 10 minutes for even charring.
    Grilling whole eggplants
  • When the eggplants are almost ready (about 5 minutes to go), combine all ingredients to make the dressing in a bowl. Taste and adjust to your liking, it should be on the salty-sweet side.
  • Place a small saucepan over medium heat. Add oil and wait until it is hot. Drop a piece of sliced scallion into the oil and if it sizzles immediately, the oil is ready. Add the remaining scallions together with the salt. Stir and cook for a few seconds until fragrant and scallions are soft.
    Scallion oil
  • Transfer cooked eggplants to a clean cutting board and peel off the skin. Be careful since they can be very hot. You can slice the eggplants into bite-sized pieces or leave them whole and run a fork along them to separate the flesh into strips.
    Peeling grilled eggplant
  • Place eggplants on serving plates. Drizzle dressing, scallion oil and sprinkle roasted peanuts on top. Serve right away.

Notes

You can watch the video near the beginning of the post to understand the cooking steps better.
If you don’t have a grill pan or an outdoor grill, you can roast the eggplants at 400F in the oven for 40-60 minutes or until very soft and tender.
If you like to have extra dressing on the side, you can increase the quantity of dressing ingredients by 50%.
If you want to make the dish more substantial to be a main dish, you can stir-fry some ground pork with minced shallot, garlic and fish sauce. The sautéed ground meat will then be an additional topping on the eggplants.
If you want to make the dish vegan, eliminate the fish sauce. Use lime juice, salt and sugar to make the dressing.

Nutrition

Calories: 302kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 12g | Trans Fat: 1g | Sodium: 584mg | Potassium: 964mg | Fiber: 12g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 631IU | Vitamin C: 38mg | Calcium: 71mg | Iron: 2mg
Course: Appetizers and Side dishes
Cuisine: Vietnamese
Keyword: ca tim nuong mo hanh, grilled whole eggplant
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Note: the post was originally posted on September 5th, 2019. It has been updated with a revised recipe, new photos and video in August, 2022. Below are the old photos in the original post.

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