Pad Makua Yao (Thai Stir-fried Eggplant with Sweet Basil)

Makua Yao is the Thai name for long green eggplants. Pad Makua Yao therefore means: stir-fried eggplant. Thai-style, ofcourse. Green eggplants taste basically the same as purple eggplants more common outside of Thailand. So feel free to use those.

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What is Pad Makua Yao?

Thai Pad Makua Yao is a traditional way of preparing long green eggplants. The long green eggplant is similar in taste to almost every other eggplant you can find, so making this dish you can use whatever your local supermarket has in stock.

The basil traditionally used in this plant-based Thai dish, is Thai sweet basil. On the one hand it has characteristics of basil, on the other hand it tastes a lot like fresh mint leaves. It is the same key-ingredients as used in Larb Het (Thai Spicy Mushroom Salade).


Main dish: 2 servings | Side dish: 4 servings

Pad Makua Yao Ingredients
  • 4 long green eggplants, cut in rounds then quarters (or substitute with any other type of eggplant)
  • 4 big hands of Thai sweet basil (or substitute with half mint leaves, half regular basil)
  • 6 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 4 chilies (green or red), chopped
  • 4 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil

Kitchen utensils

  • Wok

How to make Pad Makua Yao

Prep: 10 min. | Cook: 15 min. | Total: 25 min. 

  1. Chop 6 cloves of garlic and 4 chilies.

  2. Cut the eggplant into 1 cm rounds and the into quarters.

  3. Pluck the basil until you have 4 big hands of leaves.

  4. Add oil to a wok and wait for it to get hot. Then add the garlic and chili and fry for about 30 seconds.

  5. Add the eggplant and about 200 milliliters of water. Cook for about 10 minutes until the eggplant is well-done. Be careful not to undercook: well-done eggplant is a delicious comfort food, while undercooked eggplant is spongy and difficult to chew.

  6. Add 2 tablespoons of sugar, 4 tablespoons of soy sauce, stir thoroughly and cook for 1 minute more.

  7. Take the wok of the fire and mix the Thai sweet basil leaves with the rest of the dish.

Serve as a side dish or with rice for a full meal.

More traditional vegan Thai recipes? Take a look the ones we’ve collected so far.

Be sure to cook the eggplant really well, otherwise it is spongy and difficult to chew.
Not quite done yet. Wait for the aubergine to get all nice and soft.


Recipe name: Pad Makua Yao (Thai Stir-fried Eggplant with Sweet Basil)
Country: Thailand
Prep: 10 min.
Cook: 15 min.
Total: 25 min.
Ingredients: eggplant, Thai sweet basil, garlic, green chili, red chili, soy sauce, sugar, vegetable oil
Type of meal: lunch, dinner, side dish

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What did you think of the Pad Makua Yao? The taste of sweet basil is quite unique – was it to your liking? Let us know, we’re curious.

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