Vietnamese Caramelised Aubergines

I couldn’t visit Vietnam and pick up a recipe or two while I was there! For a day or two while I was in Hoi An, there was a typhoon passing through which meant any hope of intrepid exploration was off the cards. Instead, I decided to stay local to Ancient Town and book a cooking session in Gioan Cooking School. I wasn’t sure what to expect but it had gotten rave reviews on TripAdvisor so that must mean it’s good, right? It turned out to be my favourite day in Hoi An.

Before the cooking commenced, we were given a tour of the local food market to buy our ingredients. It was quite informative and nice to go to a local market rather than a tourist-filled area. Hanh, our teacher, was cheery and full of humour (she could pretty much have a conversation with just references to pop songs- genius!) and the atmosphere was pretty relaxed. They’d clearly been doing this for a long time and the organisation helped with the flow of the class. Of all the recipes I’d learned, the caramelised aubergines in a clay pot were my favourite. Hanh provided us all with a little recipe book so I thought I’d share their recipe which can also be found here.

Servings: enough for 4 people
Prep + cooking time: approx. 20 mins


  • 200g aubergine, cut into 4 (recipe said to peel but I left skin on)
  • vegetable oil for frying

  • ½ litre boiling water

  • 2 tbsp soy sauce

  • 2 tsp sugar

  • 1 tsp paprika powder (I added more)

  • 1 tsp chilli paste (this was optional)

  • ½ tsp pepper

  • 4 spring onions, finely chopped

Note: you can grill the aubergines rather than fry if you prefer.


  1. Prepare all your ingredients beforehand. Fry the aubergine in hot oil until golden brown. Drain the oil. 

  2. Tip: Place the aubergines in a sieve hovering over a bowl and pour boiling water over them. The water and oil won't mix but it will pull the excess oil away, This is a tip I learned in the class!

  3. Add aubergines into a clay pot (or a heavy bottomed pan.) Add spring onion, paprika, pepper, sugar, and soya sauce.

  4. Mix then cook for 5 minutes until thick like caramel.

  5. Serve with steamed rice or bread.