Vietnamese Cilantro-Mint Eggplant

A plate with grilled eggplant marinated in cilantro lime Vietnamese sauce

Today’s Musings:
Beware of Prince Charming; he’s quite possibly a sociopath.

Confession time – I watch my fair share of true crime TV and documentaries, from Netflix’s An American Murder, the Family Next Door to Dirty John to Dateline to old reruns of Cold Case Files.  In fact,  if I can’t sleep,  true crimes are my go-to bedtime stories.  This became a habit during my career as an Event Manager.  Hotel television in other countries is often a handful of terrible shows, usually in the country’s native language.  However, no matter where I’ve traveled, I can usually find a channel playing back-to-back episodes of Forensic Files. At a half-hour each, they are just long enough to provide the necessary background noise to send me off to dream land.  And, although I’m unsure if it’s intentional, true crime hosts tend to possess a soothing voice – Keith Morrison, Lester Holt, Bill Kurtis, Peter Thomas – that jettisons me off to snooze-land within no time.   Yes, this does mean I sometimes crawl under the covers clutching a kitchen knife or can of mace.

I’ve noticed these stories, predominantly wives or girlfriends who have been conned of their life savings, murdered, or had some other atrocity committed upon them by their partner, initially described their perpetrator as “charming.”  Hello, Ted Bundy. Interviewers of the unsuspecting neighbor or love interest will hear, ” I just don’t understand it. He was so charming! “

 Having dealt with my own “charming” partner who eventually exposed himself to be a liar, philanderer, and psychological abuser, I often relate closely to these women, going from feeling cherished in the first month to changing the locks on all the doors during the final days.

I’m not alone in recognizing “charming,” a word little girls grow up believing describes the perfect man, should actually be a big ol’ red flag.  A simple Google search of “Charming Beware” or “Charming Red Flag” shows that charming behavior is often a precursor to abuse, be it physical, mental, emotional, or a combination of these.  In fact, there’s a name for these men – Charm Syndrome Man. 

“Dave was a charming, outgoing, hands-on dad.”

Sandra Horley, author of Power and Control-Why Charming Men Can Make Dangerous Lovers writes, “…women invariably remember the charming side of their partners, the side they fell in love with. They describe them as loving, tender, funny and considerate. More often than not, they explain that between bouts of abuse, their partners revert to being charmers. They can beg forgiveness, smother them in affection and promise they will never behave badly again. And because the women still care, they agree to give them just one more try…. The word “charm” has cropped up again and again. At first it seemed astonishing, but soon repeatedly, I was making the connection between these two apparent opposites, charm and abuse, which seemed to run like two threads intertwined into women’s lives. It might be the charm of Dr Jekyll or the abuse of Mr. Hyde, and just as in Stevenson’s novel, the activities of Mr. Hyde are protected by the character of Dr Jekyll.”

Interviewer: “Was Tom charming?”
Victim’s Best Friend: “Very charming. Larger than life!”

Charm is, essentially, an affect employed to convince the outer world that this person is a good egg.  If this man is truly of good character, no affect or convincing is needed.  True character will shine via their deeds and consistent right actions.  When recalling my healthiest relationships, the words I use to describe my partners would be “kind,” “loyal,” “dependable” and “thoughtful.”  Prince Dependable, however, doesn’t have the same ring. 

Today’s Recipe:
I couldn’t get the flavor of the cilantro-mint sauce from this Bahn Mi recipe out of my head. I knew it could be delicious used in various recipes. It’s quite tasty drizzled over sweet potatoes or used as a marinade for eggplant.

Vietnamese Cilantro-Mint Eggplant

  • Servings: 4 main or 6 as a side-dish
  • Print

Marinate Eggplant slices in this flavorful sauce and grill or bake in the oven. Don’t forget to serve with additional sauce on the side for drizzling.


  • 2 large eggplants, cut into ¾”thick rounds
  • ½ cup mint leaves, loosely packed
  • ½ cup cilantro leaves, loosely packed, plus more for sandwich
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Zest from 1 lime
  • Juice from 2 limes
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 Tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sambal oelek chili paste
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt


  1. Preheat grill or preheat oven to 400° F. Combine all ingredients except eggplant in a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Set aside ¼ cup sauce. Toss eggplant in remaining sauce making sure eggplant is evenly coated. Grill or roast in the oven for 15-20 minutes until eggplant is soft and browned around the edges.
  3. Drizzle with reserved sauce and serve.


1 thought on “Vietnamese Cilantro-Mint Eggplant

  1. Pingback: Vietnamese Cilantro-Mint Eggplant — Two-Bit Tart | My Meals are on Wheels

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