Kashke Bademjan is one of the most popular Persian appetizers. Bademjan is eggplant in Farsi, and kashk is a yogurt product that traditionally is made through a long process, from very firm strained yogurt. The final product is either formed into balls, or pressed through a large holed sieve into strips, and dried. When dried kashk is used in a recipe it has to be soaked in small amount of warm water and dissolved gradually to produce a light tan-colored, thick creamy liquid. Kash is also available in most Middle Eastern markets in liquid form. Kashke Bademjan has found its way to almost every Persian restaurant in the U.S. This appetizer can be eaten warm or at room temperature with toasted pita wedges, flat bread, or baguettes. Just like most recipes there are many different versions of Kashke Bademjan. For one thing it is usually made with kashk that has a very acquired taste that I have not acquired yet! I prefer to use non-fat Greek yogurt instead. However yogurt can easily be substituted with kashk or sour cream. There are also recipes that don’t include walnut, but I use it because I love to load my recipes with as much nutrition as possible. Besides, ground walnuts add creaminess and substance to this amazing dip.
I have used Chinese eggplant for this recipe because it has hardly any seeds and has a smooth texture when cooked. (Please refer to my How-To page for the photo guide to different types of eggplants). I have also used Italian eggplant in the past and that works fine too.
Quick fry the eggplants to a golden brown over medium high heat. Add minced garlic and spices.
Add very little water, cover the skillet and cook over low heat until the eggplant is very tender.
Mash the cooked eggplant to very small pieces with a potato masher or a fork.
Process the walnuts until very fine, but watch it closely and stop the food processor before it turns to paste.
Fry the diced onion to a golden brown. Remove from heat and add crushed dried mint leaves; fresh mint leaves do not make a good substitute in this recipe. Combine with ground walnuts and yogurt. Transfer to the serving bowl and add garnish.
- 3 medium Chinese or Italian eggplants, peeled
- 4 TBSP vegetable oil
- 1 large garlic clove, minced
- ½ cup water
- ⅓-1/2 tsp kosher salt
- ⅛ tsp freshly cracked pepper
- 1/16 tsp cayenne pepper powder
- ⅓ cup walnuts
- 1 large yellow onion, peeled and diced medium
- 3 TBSP vegetable oil
- 2 tsp crushed dried mint leaves
- ¾ cup Greek yogurt
- A few fresh mint leaves add a nice touch as garnish (optional)
- Cut the peeled eggplants in half or quarters lengthwise.
- Heat 4 TBSP vegetable oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium high. Arrange the eggplants in a single layer in the skillet. Cover the skillet and fry the eggplants for about 7 minutes, or until golden brown on one side. Flip over the eggplants, cover again and fry the other side for another 5-7 minutes, or until the eggplants can easily be poked with a fork. Don’t leave the eggplants unattended. The high heat will burn them very quickly.
- Meanwhile in another skillet heat 3 TBSP oil over medium heat and fry the diced onion until golden brown.
- Try this easy method for mincing the garlic: With the food processor running, drop the garlic through the feed chute and process for a few seconds, or until uniformly minced.
- Add the minced garlic, water, kosher salt, cayenne pepper powder, and freshly cracked black pepper to the skillet with the fried eggplants. Cover and cook over low heat for about 15 minutes, or until the eggplants are very tender and all the water is cooked off. Turn the heat off and mash the eggplants with a fork or a potato masher to small pieces.
- In the same food processor add ⅓ cup walnuts and process until very fine, about 1 minute. Do not over process, walnuts are soft and tend to turn to a paste very quickly.
- Once the fried onions are golden brown remove the skillet from the heat and add 2 tsp crushed dried mint leaves. Stir to combine and set aside. Reserve 3 TBSP fried onion and mint mixture for garnish.
- Add the rest of the onion mixture along with the processed walnuts to the mashed eggplants. Give it a good stir to blend well.
- Stir in ¾ cup Greek yogurt to the eggplant mixture until uniformly blended.
- Transfer the eggplant mixture to the serving bowl. Sprinkle the top with the reserved fried onion and mint mixture. Add optional fresh mint leaves for garnish
- Serve warm or at room temperature with toasted flat bread or French Baguettes.