Bhaigan Bharta – Sula’s Famous Eggplant Curry Recipe

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A couple of weeks ago, Bridget and I (Sam) were invited for a lovely dinner at Sula: a modern “vegan friendly” Indian restaurant in one of Vancouver’s hippest areas on Commercial Drive. As we sipped on almond milk chai and their signature “Delhi to Dublin” Cocktail, we learned so much about Indian cuisine from part-owner Sharath Vittal. He and Sula’s marketing director Rochelle Lockhart truly wined and dined us like vegan queens. It was fan-frickin-tastic.

Not only did we get to try ALL of their ridiculously tasty vegan dishes from Vegetable Pakoras and Channa Masala to Gobi Aloo and gluten-free Tandoori Roti but they also shared with us the secret recipe for their famous Bhaigan Bharta aka Eggplant Curry! It was so damn good, I was giddy like a school girl, eager to test it out myself and it did not disappoint. It was also incredibly quick and easy to make!

According to Sharath, Indian cooking is ALL about the onions!  And now I know what he means.  This recipe alone uses THREE WHOLE ONIONS!

I can vouch that this is one of the tastiest eggplant dishes I’ve ever eaten.  And I don’t even like eggplant!  Some vegan, huh?  But this particular eggplant curry is spicy, rich in flavour, packed full of fresh veggies and has a nice smooth consistency.  Garnish with a little cilantro and you have yourself an authentic Indian dish.

Best served with brown rice or naan bread.  Makes quite a big batch (about 6 servings.)

This is what mine looked like…


1 large (or two medium-sized) eggplants
1 Tblsp extra virgin olive oil
3 cooking onions, chopped
1 tsp cumin
2 – 3 green chilies, minced
1 – 2 inch piece of ginger, minced or grated
2 tsp chilli powder
Pinch of sea salt
4 large tomatoes, diced
1.5 Tblsp cilantro, chopped


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Wash, pat dry and pierce eggplant with a fork.  Roast in oven until soft, about 40 minutes.

Remove eggplant from oven and allow to cool.  Remove eggplant skin and mash up the pulp in a bowl.

Heat olive oil in large fry pan over medium high heat.  Add onions and saute until translucent in colour.  Add mashed eggplant and cumin seeds and cook for a few seconds.  Add ginger and green chilies and cook for another minute.  Add chili powder, salt and tomatoes and cook for another couple of minutes.

Mash curry with potato masher if you prefer a chunkier consistency or blend in blender/ food processor for a smooth curry.  Garnish with chopped cilantro.

If you want to try the REAL “Bhaigan Bharta” (straight from the source) PLUS many more yummy vegan dishes, check out Sula Indian Restaurant on 1128 Commercial Drive in Vancouver.

–  Salsa Sam Shorkey, The Vegan Project

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