Thai Eggplant Curry Recipe

It's funny how some foods suddenly become incredibly popular while others languish in obscurity. After many years at the top of everyone's most-hated lists, suddenly both Brussels sprouts and beets are having a moment, meanwhile, eggplant's time has yet to come. Odd, when you consider that it is not only good for you (VeryWell Fit says it's practically fat-free, low in calories, and has a low glycemic index), but it's also super versatile. It's delicious in baba ganoush and can stand in for meat in a dish like an eggplant Parmesan.

According to recipe developer Jaime Shelbert, "Eggplant is underrated." Being a fan of curry, she felt that basing one around this vegetable would be a great way to include more eggplant into her diet. As she points out, "Plant diversity is the key to gut health, so I encourage variety." Not only will this recipe allow you to add some purple to your food rainbow, but if you like Thai flavors, you're bound to enjoy the taste!

Gather the ingredients for this Thai eggplant curry

Before you can cook this curry, start by choosing an eggplant. Shelbert describes, "First I look for a nice smooth and shiny eggplant with its classic deep purple color. Secondly, the eggplant should be firm to the touch, but not hard." She says she also prefers to use small to medium eggplants, explaining that when it comes to this veggie, "Bigger is not always better."

In addition to the eggplant, you'll need a few more items from the produce section: an onion, some garlic, a red bell pepper, some spinach, and a bunch of cilantro. Moving on to the spice aisle, pick up some curry powder, turmeric, and powdered ginger. Finally, you're also going to need coconut oil, coconut milk (Shelbert prefers to use the full-fat kind), tomato paste, and vegetable broth.

Sauté the eggplant to begin

Begin by melting 1 tablespoon of coconut oil in a heavy saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Cook the eggplant for 5 to 6 minutes until it is soft. If needed, add 1 or 2 tablespoons of water to the pan. According to Shelbert, the purpose of the water is twofold. "One," she says, "it helps to steam and soften the eggplant. Secondly, it helps prevent the eggplant from sticking to the pan without having to use additional oil." Once the eggplant is soft, remove it from the pan and set it aside for now.

Cook the veggies in the coconut milk

Add the remaining coconut oil to the pan to melt, then sauté the onion for about 4 minutes until it softens up. Stir in the minced garlic, curry, turmeric, and ginger and cook for 1 minute. Shelbert explains that this step, "allow[s] the fragrances to release." Stir the tomato paste and bell peppers into the sautéed veggies and cook for about 2 minutes. Stir in the broth and coconut milk and bring the mixture to a boil. Then, reduce the heat and let the curry simmer for 10 minutes.

Finish the dish off with spinach and cilantro

Finish up the curry by adding the eggplant in with the rest of the veggies, then tossing in the spinach. Cook, stirring, just until the spinach wilts. As a last step, mix in the chopped cilantro right before serving the dish. Shelbert tells us that this curry "is definitely hearty enough to be a vegan entree." She says she personally prefers hers with coconut rice, but says, "Any grain will do, with quinoa, farro, and brown rice all being good options."

Thai Eggplant Curry Recipe
5 from 34 ratings
This savory Thai eggplant coconut curry is brimming with flavor and nutrients. Serve it with rice or your favorite grain for an easy weeknight meal,
Prep Time
Cook Time
pot of eggplant curry
Total time: 36 minutes
  • 1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons coconut oil, divided
  • 1 medium eggplant, cut into 1-inch chunks (about 5 cups)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon ginger
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 ½ cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup full fat coconut milk
  • 3 cups spinach, roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
  1. Melt 1 tablespoon of coconut oil in a Dutch oven or saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Sauté the eggplant in the coconut oil for 5 to 6 minutes until it softens, adding 1 to 2 tablespoons of water as needed.
  3. Remove the eggplant from the pan and set it aside.
  4. Melt the remaining coconut oil in the pan.
  5. Sauté the onion for about 4 minutes until it softens.
  6. Stir the garlic, curry, turmeric, and ginger in with the onions and cook for 1 minute.
  7. Stir the tomato paste into the sautéed veggies along with the bell pepper and cook for about 2 minutes.
  8. Stir the broth and coconut milk in with the vegetables and bring to a boil.
  9. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
  10. Add the cooked eggplant and spinach to the vegetables, stirring until the spinach wilts.
  11. Stir the cilantro into the curry before serving.
Calories per Serving 238
Total Fat 18.5 g
Saturated Fat 15.7 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Total Carbohydrates 18.7 g
Dietary Fiber 7.0 g
Total Sugars 8.0 g
Sodium 77.5 mg
Protein 4.5 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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