Vegetarian Eggplant Stir Fry

We are getting closer to October! In western countries, people are expecting the Halloween season. In Thailand, we are expecting “Jay Festival”, a nine-day long vegetarian food period in Thailand. This festival is a part of our Thai-Chinese culture. You can read more about the “Jay Festival” here, one of our Lion Brand Food Bloggers has written about it – ‘Jay’ Is it someone’s name? A type of food? Or is it something else?.

In this article, I would like to give you an idea for a vegetarian Thai dish, which is pretty rare. When my friend asked me to cook a vegetarian Thai dish, I had to do some research! It was not easy for me to think of vegetarian dishes because I am not vegetarian and I always use fish sauce in my food. Fortunately, my other friend asked me about the eggplant and basil stir fry she had heard of a long time ago but has never tried. That is the dish I can adapt to be vegetarian.

A non-vegetarian version of eggplant stir fry with ground pork or chicken.

Photo credit: Maekwansri

I used to think that vegetarian food was bland and not tasty. Once a friend introduced a street vegetarian food vendor to me to try, I changed my mind. It was a completely new world to me. Vegetarian food can be spicy and very tasty. Besides feeling healthier by eating a non-meat meal, vegetarian food makes me feel full and light! It was not a heavy and uncomfortable feeling I might have after having a piece of steak (I still love steak so much, do not take me wrong), but I felt light and active after having vegetarian food. I used to add vegetarian food to my weekly meals, feeling that my body could take a break from meat.

The original version of eggplant stir fry has ground pork, oyster sauce, and garlic, which are not allowed in Jay food. This vegetarian version I use only soy sauce, seasoning sauce, and sugar for seasonings.


  •             Eggplant 1
  •             Basil ½ cup
  •             Soy sauce 1 tsp
  •             Seasoning sauce ½ tsp
  •             Sugar 1 tsp
  •             Fermented soy bean ¼ tsp (optional)
  •             Cooking oil 2 tbsp
  •             Water or vegetable stock ¼ cup

To make vegetarian eggplant stir fry:

  1. Wash eggplant and basil. Cut eggplant into bite size pieces and soak them in salt water for 10 minutes. Soaking the eggplant pieces in salt water will prevent them from turning brown before and after cooking. Prepare basil by picking leaves from the stem. Take the eggplant out of the water and dry off excess moisture.
  2. Add oil to the pan on medium high heat. Add eggplant and cover with the lid. Stir after about 2-3 minutes. Then carefully add water or vegetable stock to the pan and put the lid on. Cook for about 5 minutes until the eggplant is soft.
  3. Add soy sauce, seasoning sauce, sugar, and fermented soy bean. Stir until it is well combined. Then add basil and stir for a few times.
  4. Serve with rice.

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