Sri Lankan Fried Eggplant Curry

Sri Lankan fried eggplant curry pinit

This Sri Lankan fried eggplant curry is savory and sweet heaven with just the right balance of flavors. One of the best dishes my mom makes and everyone who tastes this curry falls in love instantly. Trust me, it’s a keeper! And most of all I use my air fryer to fry the eggplants. But fear not, I include all the info about deep-frying as well.

Although it’s my mom’s recipe, I had to tweak it a little bit so I can make it with air-fried eggplants. Don’t worry it still tastes the same and on the plus side, it’s a little healthier than the deep-fried version. My mom never owned an air fryer, but I’m sure she’d do the same if she had one. Why wouldn’t you, right?

Making this curry with deep-fried eggplants:

If you don’t have an air fryer, no worries, you can very easily make this fried eggplant curry with deep-fried eggplants. After all, that’s how my mom always made this. But you may have to do a very few minor changes to the recipe since I adopted this recipe to make with air-fried eggplants. 

  1. Heat the oil to high and fry the eggplants in small batches until they become golden. Do not wash them after you cut them and do not add any salt as salt draws moisture out and make them soggy.  If you fry the eggplants in low heat or overcrowd the pan you’ll also end up with soggy eggplants that are soaked with oil. (I talk more about frying eggplants in my eggplant moju recipe. Please check that out as well)
  2. Use less oil when you saute the aromatics. Or you can skip the step of sauteeing altogether. Add fried eggplants and all the other ingredients (except oil) to the pot and cook it in low heat until you get the desired consistency.
  3. The deep-fried eggplants get mushy very quickly unlike air-fried eggplants. To avoid this, use less coconut milk than I mentioned and cook it in low heat without stirring it too much.

Tips about Air frying eggplants and making the curry:

  • Do it in small batches. Only fill the air fryer basket in one layer. So there’s enough space for the air to circulate and that ensures even frying and browning.
  • Make sure you shake the basket halfway through. Again for even frying.
  • Do not wash your eggplants after you cut them. You can wash them before you fry them. But if you wash them after you cut them, it would take too long for the eggplants to fry and could make them soggy too.
  • Do not mix salt when you fry them. Salt would draw the water out of the eggplant pieces and would make them soggy.
  • Make sure every piece of eggplant is coated with oil before you put them into the basket.
  • Air fried eggplants need a little more time to get the desired tenderness than deep-fried eggplants. So make sure you cook it in low heat, so eggplants can absorb all that deliciousness from the curry and rehydrate.

Ingredient info:

All the ingredients except Sri Lankan roasted curry powder can be found in most Asian grocery stores. Sri Lankan roasted curry powder is available in Sri Lankan grocery stores. Also in amazon to order online. I’ll add a link below. If you can’t find it anywhere here’s what I’d recommend you to do. Use any curry powder of your choice and then dry roast the curry powder in a pan in low heat until they become dark brown. Make sure to remove the curry powder from the pan as soon as they’re roasted enough otherwise they can burn from the residual heat from the pan.

I’m using Chinese eggplants here. Try if you can find any kind of Asian eggplant rather than using large Mediterranean eggplants. They can become mushy as they’re meatier and absorb more oil if you’re deep frying. But if you can’t find Asian eggplants these large eggplants work just fine.

Products I’m using in the recipes: (Amazon affiliated links)

Serving Options:

My favorite menu to have with this Sri Lankan fried eggplant curry is yellow rice, a meat/fish dish, creamy potato curry, and a salad. That’s one of my favorite party menus. Another favorite is white rice, red lentil curry, and this Sri Lankan fried eggplant curry. But for real you can have it with any rice and a creamy curry combination. 

Difficulty: Beginner Prep Time 10 min Cook Time 25 min Total Time 35 mins Servings: 5


This Sri Lankan fried eggplant curry is savory and sweet heaven with just the right balance of flavors. One of the best dishes my mom makes and everyone who tastes this curry falls in love instantly. Trust me, it’s a keeper! And most of all I use my air fryer to fry the eggplants. But fear not, I include all the info about deep-frying as well.


To air-fry eggplants (can be deep-fried too)

To make the curry


Frying eggplants in the airfryer (can deep-fry too)

  1. Cut the cleaned eggplants into two-inch-long cylindrical pieces. And then cut each cylindrical piece into halves. Then cut each half into 4 - 6 wedges depending on the thickness of the eggplants. (you can cut them into slices instead of wedges too)

    Eggplant curry
  2. Mix in your turmeric powder and oil with eggplant pieces. Each and every piece has to be coated with oil. If you’re deep-frying, no need to mix oil, just mix your turmeric. (more info about deep frying in the recipe description above)

  3. Put them into the air fryer basket and arrange then into one layer (with the given amount you may have to airfry them in two-three batches depending on the size of your air fryer) and fry for 7 - 10 mins on 390 F/ 200 C. Make sure to shake the basket a few times to ensure even frying. Alternatively, you can deep fry eggplants too. 

Making the curry

  1. When you’re done frying your eggplants, Heat a pan (a claypot is ideal but any other thick bottom pan/pot would work too), add coconut oil (or cooking oil of your choice) and let the oil heat up. Then add curry leaves and pandan leaves. Let them splatter. Add chopped garlic, chopped onion, sliced green chilies and let them fry a little bit.

    Eggplant curry
  2. Add Roasted curry powder, Sugar, Salt, and vinegar. Saute a few seconds to mix everything in. 

  3. Then add your air-fried/deep-fried eggplants and mix very well. The spices should coat every piece of eggplant.

  4. Add thick coconut milk and water (diluted coconut milk) and let the curry come to a simmer.

  5. Taste and see if it needs any more salt, sugar, or vinegar. If it’s too sweet add a little bit of vinegar to balance it out. If it is vinegary then add a little bit of sugar.

    Eggplant curry
  6. Cook uncovered on low heat until the eggplants rehydrates, the curry thickens up and you get the desired amount of gravy. This curry is better as a dry curry so I usually dry up the curry until there is only a little bit of gravy left. And when the pot cools down it thickens up even more.

  7. The curry is ready to serve but it tastes even better the next day. Keep refrigerated the leftovers.

Keywords: Eggplants, eggplant curry, Sri Lankan eggplant curry, Airfried eggplants, Air-friedeggplant curry, Aubergine, Brinjal curry, Sri Lankan fried brinjal curry


    1. Hi Shanti

      I can only post one type of measurement on the website so I go with cup and spoon measurements for curries which is the most commonly used type and almost everyone has in their household. As an alternative, if you need to get the amount in GRAMS Google can convert between different measurements. I hope that helps.

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