Sri Lankan Eggplant Curry

Sri Lankan Eggplant Curry
These are the days of snuggling under the covers with a hot cup of tea as the world outside shivers and shakes and freezes up into a block of solid gray.The days of slapping the snooze button on the alarm clock, again, and again, and again, and again.

The days of dreaming about spring, when the leaves and the grass and the flowers will burst out of the earth in a dizzying flurry of colors, bright in longed-for sunshine.

I have a love-hate relationship with all the seasons, but my feelings about winter are so strong, they are in a league of their own

Sure, I dream about colder days when the sun blazes down on Washington in the summer months, sapping every drop of liquid in your body. I long for the good-hair days of winter when the humidity turns my head into a frizzball. And I cannot wait each year for the first snow to collect on the branches of trees and the rooftops of houses, so pristine in its beauty

And yet winter here also means days so bitterly cold, I don’t think I could have ever imagined the blood-freezing intensity of it when I lived in Bombay. The sub-freezing temperatures, sometimes accompanied by even stronger wind-chills, turn my fingers into little popsicles every time I step out, even for the short walk to my car. There are times when the cold has brought me to tears, and I kid you not.

Desi, of course, is surprisingly resilient. Winter’s his favorite season, and you wouldn’t guess that he was born and brought up in the cauldron of Madras. Me, I haven’t outgrown my sultry Bombay blood

So no surprises then that in winter, like many others, I’m sure, I make every excuse in the book to stay indoors as much as possible. When that time can be spent at home, all the better.

It is on days like these that I pull out my favorite cookbooks and browse through them for a meal that I know will warm me to the core. This Sri Lankan Eggplant Curry from Madhur Jaffrey’s World Vegetarian is one such dish.

The recipe uses your everyday Indian spices: cumin, coriander, cinnamon and mustard. But with some deft variations, Jaffrey combines them into a dish so vibrant, it has to be tasted for its flavor to be believed.

Eggplant is one of my favorite veggies- it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that it’s comfort food to me- so all the better.

I would have followed the recipe to the letter, except that I didn’t have the curry leaves the recipe required, so I improvised instead with some kasoori methi this time. The kasoori methi changes the taste but the end result is just as delicious.

Ok, it’s time for me to snuggle back under the covers, and I’m off. Enjoy, everyone!

This Sri Lankan Curry goes off to Sunshinemom (what a wonderful name that is, and sounds so good right now in this wintry post!) for her brilliant Food in Colors event. This month she’s inviting dishes that are yellow. Thanks, Harini!

Sri Lankan Eggplant Curry
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
(Adapted from Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian)
Recipe type: Curry
Cuisine: Indian
Serves: 6
  • 1 large eggplant, sliced crosswise into ½-inch-thick slices
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp chilli powder like cayenne or paprika
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds, powdered
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds, powdered
  • ½ tsp fennel seeds, powdered
  • Juice of ½ lime or lemon
  • 2 tbsp canola oil or other vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 handful (about ½ cup) of kasoori methi (you can use 2 sprigs of curry leaves instead. The original recipe suggests basil for an interesting variation
  • 2 tsp mustard seeds, powdered
  • ¼ cup chopped coriander leaves
  1. Slather the eggplant slices with salt, pepper and oil, and place on a baking sheet.
  2. Place the baking sheet under the broiler and cook for four minutes until the slices are reddish-brown on top.
  3. Flip over and cook the other side for another 2-3 minutes.
  4. Cut the eggplant slices into quarters, add the turmeric, lemon juice, and chilli, fennel, coriander and cumin powders and mix well.
  5. Heat the other tbsp of oil in a saucepan.
  6. Add the onion and fry until lightly brown.Add the kasoori methi (or curry leaves) and stir for a couple of minutes.
  7. Add the eggplant and cook, stirring, for about five minutes.
  8. Add the coconut milk and warm through. Add the mustard powder and mix well. Add salt if needed.
  9. Turn off the heat. Garnish with coriander leaves.
  10. This tastes wonderful with some hot rotis, but it'd also be great with plain boiled rice.

(C) All recipes and photographs copyright of Holy Cow! Vegan Recipes.

20 thoughts on “Sri Lankan Eggplant Curry

  1. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Mahimaa's kitchen

    January 9, 2009 at 4:11am

    eggplant and coconut milk shud make a yummy combo. i have never experienced the cold u r describing as I live in los angeles. even now, i am able to go for walks..i am glad i am here :)

  2. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    January 9, 2009 at 5:56am

    Good idea! grilled brinjal comes to my rescue when I dont know what to make,or dont have time! fennel, coconut milk, kasoori methi …all yummy ingredients to make a hit!

  3. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Jan Scholl

    January 9, 2009 at 6:08am

    I think I can smell this cooking in my head. I love to cook at 2 AM and I have an eggplant. Hmmmm.

  4. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    DJ Karma (of Vegspinz)

    January 9, 2009 at 6:40am

    I love eggplant too & just had some for dinner! The vibrant colors of that curry impart warmth…emotionally? Love it! Thanks for the descriptive read!

  5. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    January 9, 2009 at 7:52am

    L ove brinjal so much, youe eggplant curry looks selicious. Thanks for dropping by and for your lovely comments.

  6. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    January 9, 2009 at 8:26am

    This eggplant curry is new to me…delicious they r..

  7. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Happy cook

    January 9, 2009 at 10:02am

    Beautiful and delicious curry.
    yeah here to it is cold.
    Today it is -7°c.

  8. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    January 9, 2009 at 2:16pm

    yummy! I can’t wait to try this recipe! Thank you for posting it, and beautiful words about winter, sorry to say I live in Southern CA where my winter peeks at 40 degrees maybe!! Have a wonderful day!

  9. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    January 9, 2009 at 4:42pm

    Love eggplant and loved the combination of flavors in this curry, looks delicious :-)

  10. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Gita's Kitchen

    January 9, 2009 at 4:42pm

    The curry looks delicious, I am planning to make this one for my hubby who is not a great fan of eggplants. I am sure he will like this creamy eggplant curry :)

  11. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    January 9, 2009 at 5:35pm

    The brinjal curry is different, love the coconut touch !

  12. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    January 9, 2009 at 6:45pm

    interesting recipe..i quite like eggplants…will try this sometime..

  13. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    January 9, 2009 at 7:21pm

    super colour..combo of coconut milk,fennel and eggplant has to be very flavourful.

  14. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    January 9, 2009 at 7:54pm

    You write so well. I too have same feelings about winter. :-(

    Curry looks delicious.

  15. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    January 10, 2009 at 7:13am

    I love the way your food embraces the whole world!! Well done and beautiful looking curry! Thank you so much for remembering FIC:)

    I love winters too – it reminds me of my North Indian Childhood!! Now we have no freezing winters, just a slight nip in the air late in the evening:(

  16. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    January 12, 2009 at 6:17pm

    This is a most unusual way of cooking eggplant. I’m sure the coconut milk takes it to another level.

    We don’t have winters here, so its very pleasant here now. I do prefer this season to summers as I have a tough time with the heat!

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