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.
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)
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)
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.
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.
Add Roasted curry powder, Sugar, Salt, and vinegar. Saute a few seconds to mix everything in.
Then add your air-fried/deep-fried eggplants and mix very well. The spices should coat every piece of eggplant.
Add thick coconut milk and water (diluted coconut milk) and let the curry come to a simmer.
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.
The curry is ready to serve but it tastes even better the next day. Keep refrigerated the leftovers.