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A plate of burmese eggplant stuffed with tomato curry.

Burmese Curry Eggplant - Khayan Thee Hnut

Soft, melty eggplants meet caramelised savoury flavour in this easy Burmese Curry Eggplant recipe.
Course Curry
Cuisine Burmese
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 177kcal
Cost $10




  • Wash and dry the eggplants. Slice them down the centre from bottom to top, leaving the top section intact. Soak them in water while preparing the curry mix.
    4 small eggplants
  • Place the shallots, tomatoes, garlic, dried shrimp powder, crushed peanuts, fish sauce, palm sugar, turmeric, salt and chilli powder into a mixing bowl and stir until all the flavours have mixed through completely. Remove the eggplants from the water and stuff with the shallot/tomato curry. Place in a large wok or frypan and cover with any remaining curry.
    3-4 shallots, 3 medium tomatoes, 2 cloves garlic, ½ tsp turmeric powder, 3 tsp fish sauce, ½ tsp salt, 1 ½ tsp chilli powder, 2 tsp roasted peanuts, 2 tsp palm sugar, 1 tbsp dried shrimp powder
  • Drizzle with vegetable oil and water, then cover and cook over a medium low heat. Cook for approximately 30 mins until the eggplants are soft and the liquid has mostly evaporated. You’ll be able to hear when the eggplants are close to done, as the sound will change from boiling to sizzling. Avoid lifting the lid while cooking.
    2 tbsp vegetable oil, 1-2 cups cold water
  • Remove the lid and continue to cook until the eggplants are tender and brown and the liquid reduces. The curry may start sticking to the wok/frypan - this is totally okay! The caramelised flavour is a signature part of this dish.
  • Serve with steamed white rice, a crisp salad and/or a helping of lemongrass chicken curry.


  • Eggplants - When we first cooked this in Myanmar we used long thin eggplants similar to Chinese/Japanese eggplant varieties. We've since cooked this with regular eggplants which work just as well. Slice the eggplants in quarters, starting from the end and working through most of the way to the stalk, but leaving the top intact to hold it all together. No need to peel the eggplants either, the skin will help them hold their shape while cooking.
  • Palm Sugar - The authentic curry eggplant recipe uses a natural sweetener known as jaggery, which in Myanmar is sourced from the Toddy Palm tree. You can find it as a syrup or as a crumbly fudgy ball of buttery caramel flavour, so good that you can eat it on its own. At home, we substitute with gula melaka, palm sugar or brown sugar depending on what we have on hand.
  • Fish Sauce - If you've never used fish sauce, find out more about it in our fish sauce guide. This staple Asian ingredient has a strong smell in the bottle, but isn't fishy in the final dish, adding a delicious salty, savoury flavour to your cooking. You'll find it at Asian grocers or in well-stocked supermarkets in the international foods section, or online.
  • Dried Shrimp Powder - This is made from fresh baby shrimp/prawns that are dried and then ground into a fine powder. It's very different from shrimp paste (such as Malaysian belacan or Indonesian terasi) which are fermented first. Look for it at an Asian grocery or get it online. If you have shrimp paste on hand, you can use this instead - start with 1/2-1 tsp and taste, then add more if you want it saltier. Otherwise, just add salt or an extra splash of fish sauce to taste.
  • Listening Is Key - You’ll hear the difference as the boiling bubbling liquid evaporates into sizzling steaming deliciousness.
  • Don't Worry About Over-Cooking - Khayan Thee Hnut means ‘stick to the pan’ in Burmese, and the more it sticks the better the flavour gets. 
  • Variations:
    • Make it Less Sweet - It's up to you if you want to include the jaggery, substitute with palm sugar or just leave it out altogether.
    • Make it Go Further - Add extra veggies like sliced carrot or diced potatoes. For the potatoes, you might like to par-boil these separately for around 10 minutes while the eggplants are cooking, then add them in when you're reducing the curry sauce.
    • Amp Up the Heat - Add more chilli powder to your taste. Or for even more intense heat, swap for 1-2 birds eye chillies. These small chillies are deceptive - they really pack a punch! If you're unsure, start with a small amount (even just half a chilli) until you're familiar with the spice level.
    • Make it Creamy - Add a tin (400 ml) coconut milk or coconut cream instead of water.
    • Add Texture - Sprinkle fried shallots, fried garlic, crushed almonds or peanuts over the finished dish when serving.
    • Add Protein - While not traditional, adding tofu would be a great way to add extra protein to this dish. The tofu would also taste amazing when cooked in these flavours! If you don't like tofu, try adding fish like one of our readers did. (Light fry the fish first before adding in with the tomato mix).
    • Make it Vegetarian - Leave out the fish sauce and shrimp powder, and add soy sauce or coconut amino sauce instead.
    • Optional Garnish - Serve with a few fresh coriander leaves on top.


Serving: 4g | Calories: 177kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 687mg | Potassium: 845mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 1043IU | Vitamin C: 20mg | Calcium: 42mg | Iron: 1mg