This creamy Eggplant Curry with a creamy coconut sauce is easy and needs just a handful of ingredients, but it packs loads of flavor. Serve with hot basmati rice or roti. Soy-free, nut-free and gluten-free recipe.
When I am short on time and need a fabulous and even decadent curry that everyone will love, I turn to this Sri Lankan Eggplant Curry.
This is an extraordinarily flavorful dish, with spices like turmeric, mustard, coriander and cumin flavoring a creamy coconut sauce. Floating in that sauce are tender, juicy bits of perfectly cooked eggplant. Heaven.
It's a particularly wonderful dish to make and eat during this season because, with a bowl of rice, it screams comfort food. And don't we all need some of that during these icy days of winter.
Of course, the winter here in the D.C. area has not been much to write home about this year. It's been coldish, but not as cold as it sometimes gets. I had neglected to bring my potted oregano plant inside when it started to get cold and usually it'd be frozen stiff by now, but when I looked at it the other day it looked quite alive. So I brought it in, watered it, and it's sprouted lots of new green leaves.
While I'm not crazy about having my toes and fingers feel like popsicles, I do miss the biting chill of winter, and Jay has been complaining because there's been no snow.
Back to the recipe, eggplant is one of my favorite veggies, so when I first found this recipe in a Madhur Jaffrey cookbook I was quick to make it. I loved it so, I've made it numerous times over the years.
I've tweaked it a bit here and there over the years, and this recipe is almost exactly the same as when I first shared it with you many years ago. It's a simple recipe so there's not much to tell you by way of tips, but here's one thing: you can use any eggplant you have on hand for it. I've made it with the large Italian eggplant, the small, round Indian ones, and Japanese eggplants, and all work well.
You will need to cut the eggplants twice. And by that I mean you'll first cut it in longish slices, broil it (or you can pop them in the air fryer for 10 minutes), and then halve them again into smaller bits before adding to the curry. This gives the eggplant a nice, chewy texture on the outside and keeps it creamy in.
I hope you try it.
What to serve this eggplant curry with?
Rice is perfect. Plain rice is great, but make this with my jeera rice or cumin rice for an even more special meal.
You can also serve this curry with a flatbread like sourdough roti or palak paratha.
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Sri Lankan Eggplant Curry
- 1 large eggplant (or 8 small Indian round eggplants, or 3-4 Japanese eggplants. Cut into 2-inch slices)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 onion (thinly sliced)
- 1 sprig curry leaves
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- ½ teaspoon fennel seeds
- 2 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon cayenne (or paprika)
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- 1 cup coconut milk
- Juice of ½ lime or lemon
- 2 teaspoon chopped coriander leaves
- Powder the mustard, coriander, cumin and fennel powders in a spice grinder or blender. Set aside.
- Slather the eggplant slices with salt, pepper and ½ teaspoon oil, and place on a baking sheet. Place the baking sheet under the broiler and cook for four minutes until the slices are reddish-brown on top. Flip over and cook the other side for another 2-3 minutes.
- You can also do this in the air fryer: place the eggplant slices in the air fryer basket and cook for 8-10 minutes at 375 degrees or until browned outside and cooked. Toss the eggplant slices once during cooking to make sure they brown evenly.
- Cut each eggplant slice into half. Then add the turmeric, lemon juice, cayenne or paprika and the powdered spices. Mix well.
- Heat the remaining oil in a saucepan.
- Add the onion and fry until lightly brown. Add the curry leaves and stir for a couple of minutes.
- Add the eggplant and half the coconut milk. Bring to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer, cover and let it cook five minutes.
- Add the remaining coconut milk and warm through without letting the curry come to a boil. Add more salt as needed.
- Turn off the heat. Garnish with coriander leaves.
Looks and smells delicious but how is this even close to 6 servings as written? More like 2 1/2.
Happy you like it. It’s very creamy so a serving doesn’t have to be a lot!
My sister tried this recipe and shared it but I cook better when I see the video..do you have this recipe on video. Thanks
Hi Avinash, unfortunately I don't have a video for this. I'll likely post one when I make it next. Cheers.
I haven't tried this yet but it looks delicious. I'm wondering if curry powder can be substituted for a sprig of curry leaves.
Hi Linda, curry leaves by themselves won't be an adequate substitute, but try using a bit of garam masala if you have it on hand.
I made this eggplant curry but I found it was a bit bitter. Is it possible that there was too much mustard seeds in it.
Also , I used diluted coconut cream'
Look forward to your reply.
Same here! And I believe the mustard is the culprit. Powdered raw mustard is more along the lines of a similar Bengali recipe, and that uses curd/yoghurt instead of coconut milk. Here, I would suggest either using oil-fried (sputtered) mustard, or reducing the amount by half or more.
You can reduce the amount of mustard seeds if you use light or diluted coconut milk. Light coconut milk would give less sweetness to the recipe and wouldn't balance out the mustard. Preferably just use regular coconut milk, which is a better fit for this recipe.
Can the egg plant be baked instead of broil?
Yes, you can bake it. Cut, rub on the salt, pepper and oil, and then bake in a preheated 450 degree oven for 30 minutes.
Thank you for your delicious recipe. Our local Indian makes a gorgeous eggplant and pumpkin curry so I added roasted pieces of pumpkin too hoping it would be similar, it wasn’t but was still rather yum. We live on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland Australia. Beautiful weather year round. Although we do rain very well in late summer.
So happy to hear you enjoyed it! The Sunshine Coast sounds like such a happy place to be in. 🙂
Turned out great! I'm still trying to find eggplant recipes that will help me better appreciate this beautiful veg. This is one! Though I'd peel the eggplant next time. Store bought eggplant have tough skins. Local fresh in the summer are better, of course. Had this with curry chickpeas and your lovely simple dosas. Thank you!
Hi Denise, if you use the Italian eggplant you can discard some of the peel. The smaller or skinnier eggplants, like the little round ones of the long, slim ones, have a thinner skin and would work better here. So happy you enjoyed this curry!
looks sooooooooooooooo yummy yummy
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!
This looks delicious! Thanks for sharing! 🙂
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:(
You write so well. I too have same feelings about winter. 🙁
Curry looks delicious.
super colour..combo of coconut milk,fennel and eggplant has to be very flavourful.
interesting recipe..i quite like eggplants...will try this sometime..
The brinjal curry is different, love the coconut touch !
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 🙂
Love eggplant and loved the combination of flavors in this curry, looks delicious 🙂
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!
Something new to me. Looks gr8.
Beautiful and delicious curry.
yeah here to it is cold.
Today it is -7°c.
This eggplant curry is new to me...delicious they r..
L ove brinjal so much, youe eggplant curry looks selicious. Thanks for dropping by and for your lovely comments.
DJ Karma (of Vegspinz)
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!
nice recipe..looks spicy and yummy..
I think I can smell this cooking in my head. I love to cook at 2 AM and I have an eggplant. Hmmmm.
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!
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 🙂