Under 150 calories per serving, this mild vegan Burmese eggplant curry recipe, with its deliciously silky eggplant in a creamy, piquant gravy, is a perfect blend of sweet, sour, and spicy flavours.
I, like a lot of the Shan people, prefer my curries to be mild, with only a little kick… but you can make yours as hot as you like. A word of warning though, if you’re using Thai chillies, don’t be fooled by the size or colour; tiny green bird’s eye chillies can pack a huge punch, whereas very often, the large red ones can be quite mild. My advice, unless you have a high tolerance for Thai chillies, stick with the ones you know!
One of our favourite places to eat when we lived in Chiang Mai was a really cheap hole-in-the-wall Burmese café; it was very basic but goodness, the food they served there was out of this world. For around 2 GBP (3 USD), we could have two curries, two portions of rice, and an enormous bowl of lentil soup, plus all the water we could drink.
(That’s 2 GBP for the two of us, not each.)
I miss that place sooo much!
(Sorry for the poor quality of the following couple of pics – I took them a few years ago with my very ageing iPhone 3GS!)
I’d love to tell you that I learned to make this Burmese curry while spending time in Myanmar but the truth is that there were plenty of Burmese people in Chiang Mai from whom I could learn. Most of them were construction workers and their families – some of whom I taught while volunteering at the Baan Dek Foundation. One of the cooks there, Jeni, was the first person to teach me to cook SE Asian food, and I will always be grateful to her for introducing my tastebuds to a whole new world of flavours!
Vegan Burmese eggplant curry
- quick and easy to make
- gluten-free (if you use tamari)
- soy-free (if you use coconut aminos)
- full of goodness (Vitamin A 17%, Vitamin C 57%, Calcium 7%, Iron 27% RDV)
- completely scrumptious
Serve this curry with a little rice and a Burmese tomato salad, and you have a feast fit to grace any table! Enjoy!
Have you had Burmese eggplant curry before? Tell me where and when in the comments!
Vegan Burmese Eggplant Curry
Yield 4 servings
This mild vegan Burmese eggplant curry recipe, with its deliciously silky eggplant in a creamy, piquant gravy, is a perfect blend of sweet, sour, and spicy flavours.
- 1 Thai chilli, sliced (note 1)
- 6 medium-large spring onions, white and green parts, chopped
- 3 large cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 1 stalk fresh lemongrass, sliced finely
- 5cm (c.2") fresh ginger root, roughly chopped (note 2)
- 2.5cm (c.1") fresh galangal root, roughly chopped
- 1 tbsp light soy sauce (note 3)
- 1 tbsp coconut palm sugar
- 1 tbsp water
- 1 tbsp tamarind paste
- 500g (c.1 lb) small eggplants, sliced
- 2 medium tomatoes, chopped into chunks
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 1 x 400ml (c.13½ oz) can light coconut milk
- dash of sea salt (optional) (note 4)
- Steam the eggplant slices for around 5 mins, until soft.
- While they are steaming, make the curry paste by blitzing the ingredients in the first section together in a food processor, blender, or by using an immersion blender. (I use the mini processor attachment on mine.)
- Add the tomatoes to a hot wok over a medium heat, and dry-fry for 3-4 mins, until they begin to soften.
- Add the eggplant and turmeric, stir well, and continue to cook for another minute.
- Stir in the curry paste, making sure that everything is well-coated. Stir-fry for three or four minutes, until the 'raw' smell has gone.
- Mix in the coconut milk, turn down the heat, and allow to simmer for around 10 minutes, until the gravy has thickened.
- Taste, and season with a smidge of sea salt if necessary.
- Serve immediately. (Any leftovers can be kept in an airtight container in the 'fridge for up to 3 days.)
- Add more chillis if you like a bit more heat.
- If your ginger is very fresh, there's no need to peel it; however, if the skin is a bit thick, scrape it off with the edge of a teaspoon.
- If you can't have soy, use coconut aminos. If you can't have gluten but soy is fine, use tamari.
- Salt is not included in the nutritional breakdown because I have no way of knowing whether you'll use it, and if so, how much. However, if your sodium intake is something you're keeping an eye on, you can factor it in using something like Cron-O-Meter.
- This curry is not suitable for freezing.
This post has been updated with new photos and a better recipe.
Serving Size ¼ of the recipe
Amount Per Serving
% Daily Value
Total Fat 6 g
Saturated Fat 5 g
Sodium 390 mg
Total Carbohydrates 23 g
Dietary Fiber 6 g
Sugars 11 g
Protein 5 g
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
While you’re here, why not check out these other great Asian yums!