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Sri Lankan Eggplant Stir-Fry

Sri Lankan Eggplant Stir-Fry

This Eggplant Stir-Fry has been one of my favorite Sri Lankan vegetable dishes since childhood. The eggplants become so tender and buttery and full of flavor. It has just the right spice and umaminess. Tomatoes that are added at the end add a nice hint of tang which helps to balance out the flavors. I hope you try out this eggplant recipe cause this really is so easy to make but amazingly good!! 

I was a picky kid when it comes to vegetables. My sister was even pickier than me. But we both loved eggplants. So growing up we had many eggplant dishes such as eggplant moju, Fried eggplant curry, and eggplant salad. My mom would make rice and then a creamy curry such as red lentil curry or potato curry. And then maybe chicken or fish or a boiled egg for protein.

Can I make it Vegan?

Yes, you absolutely can! Simply skip adding maldive fish chips. I make this stir-fry without Maldive fish chips when I run out of it. It always turn out great!! 

Can I make it less spicy? 

Yes! You can use a nonspicy banana pepper instead of green chilies and less amount of chili flakes or you can also use paprika. 

Variety of eggplant to use

Honestly, any type of eggplant would work for this recipe. But I highly recommend using an Asian eggplant variety. Simply because they are thin and don’t have too much flesh compared to Mediterranian eggplants. When you cut the eggplants, it’s important that all the pieces have some skin attached. Otherwise, they can turn too mushy. I use Chinese eggplants for this recipe.

Maldive Fish chips substitutes

Maldive fish chips are a very popular ingredient in Sri Lankan cooking. But if you’re living abroad this ingredient is very hard to find unless you have a Sri Lankan grocery store nearby. As substitutes, you can use, tiny dried shrimp or dried anchovies or bonito flakes. They all help to add some umami flavor to the dish.

Where to find curry leaves?

An essential ingredient for most of the Sri Lankan dishes. You can find them in Indian grocery stores. And in some Vietnamese, Thai, or other Asian grocery stores. If you live in the US some Amazon vendors would ship them as well. I’ll link it down below.

Serving Ideas

This stir-fry is usually served with Rice. I like to pair it with more curries and other side dishes as well. You can also serve this with Roti and bread.

You can pair it with a creamy curry such as red lentil curry, potato curry , pumpkin curry or green bean curry. This will cut down the spice and add a nice creaminess. 

I also like to add a protein such as chicken curry, fish curry, beef curry, pork curry, or a boiled egg. 

A gotu kola sambol/salad or a mallung would go really nicely with this menu too. 

 If you have any recipe questions I didn’t cover, leave a comment at the bottom of the post. Otherwise, hope you enjoy this delicious Sri Lankan style Eggplant Stir-Fry

Ratings 5 from 2 votes
Cooking Method
Courses ,
Difficulty Beginner
Prep Time: 10 mins Cook Time: 20 mins Total Time: 30 mins
Servings 4

This Sri Lankan Eggplant stir-fry has been one of my favorites since childhood. It's packed with flavor and the buttery texture is so amazing! And it's one of the easiest dishes you can make!

  • 2 tablespoons coconut/vegetable/avocado oil
  • 3 medium size Asian eggplants (roughly about 550g for 3))
  • 1/2 teaspoon Turmeric powder
  • Salt to your taste
  • 5 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 sprig of curry leaves
  • 1/2 of a large onion sliced (about 130g)
  • 3 green chilies cut into halves lengthwise
  • 2 teaspoons chili flakes (adjust to your taste)
  • 1.5 tablespoon Maldive fish chips (check the description for substitutes)
  • 1 medium size tomato cut into wedges
  1. Cut the eggplants into 1.5-inch log-shaped pieces. Then cut each piece into 4 wedge-shaped pieces.

  2. Heat oil in a large pan (preferably a ceramic or a nonstick pan). Add eggplants and spread them around the pan. Keep the heat on medium. Let the eggplants fry in oil, undisturbed, until the sides that touch the pan turn golden or light brown. Then flip the eggplants and let them fry again until the color turns golden. 

  3. Sprinkle turmeric powder and gently mix everything. Fry again until eggplant pieces turn somewhat tender. Gently mix from time to time. Do not close the lid as this would make the eggplants steam instead of frying.

  4. Then add the salt, garlic, curry leaves, onion, green chilies, chili flakes, and Maldive fish chips. Mix everything well. 

    I usually break the curry leaves in half before adding.
  5. Cover and cook until onions are wilted and eggplants are soft. Taste and adjust salt as needed. If too much liquid accumulates in the pan, remove the cover.

  6. Add tomatoes. Mix gently with everything. Cook for about a minute uncovered and turn off the heat. 


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Roshani Wickramasinghe
Roshani Wickramasinghe
Hungry Lankan

Food blog with recipes from Sri Lanka and around the world