Borani Bademjan is a vegetarian dish that I make by stewing baked eggplants (bademjan) in a tomato garlic sauce. This is a vegetarian dish that can be served as an appetizer or a main dish. The eggplants may be fried for this dish, but as you probably know they tend to soak up a lot of oil and the baked method is much healthier. The borani dishes in Persian cuisine are typically served with yogurt but this dish tastes great without it, to suit a vegan diet. As far as eggplants go I think there are two groups of people, those who love to make delicious and creative dishes with eggplant and those who have their reasons to stay away from it.
There are many varieties of eggplants in the market, I like to use the Italian eggplants (top photo) for this recipe because they are very tender and not too many seeds. Some eggplant recipes call for a series of steps in order to make the eggplants edible because there is a belief that they are bitter. I never salt the eggplants or soak them in salt water to get rid of the bitterness because I don’t believe that eggplants are bitter! From my experience unless the eggplant has been sitting in the produce section or in the refrigerator longer than it should have, it tastes wonderful and it is one of the most tender vegetables out there. Fresh eggplant should be firm to touch with a smooth shiny skin. There should not be any soft indentations or blemishes on the skin.
For this recipe bake the eggplants according to the instructions on my How-To page. Let them cool on the aluminum foil for at least 20 minutes, then use a spatula to remove them. Set them aside.
Meanwhile saute the fried onions with tomato paste and when fragrant add the garlic
To make the sauce, add water to the onion and tomato mixture. Bring it to a boil then add the baked eggplants, cover and cook. Then halfway through cooking smash the eggplants with the bottom of a spoon and cook some more.
Borani bademjan is a simply wonderful vegetarian dish that is beautiful and delicious. Top it with toasted walnuts and add some shredded fresh mint leaves for color and a refreshing flavor. Enjoy Borani Bademjan with a spoonful or two of plain yogurt and toasted Sangak (persian flat bread) or any other bread of your choice.
- 7 Italian eggplants, peeled and cut in half lengthwise
- ⅓ cup vegetable oil, plus 1 TBSP to coat the aluminum foil
- 1 large onion sliced thin and fried to golden brown (about 4 ounces fried onions)
- 3 TBSP vegetable oil
- 1 TBSP chopped garlic (about 2 cloves)
- 3 TBSP tomato paste
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- ¼ tsp freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 ¾ cups water
- ¾ cup plain low-fat yogurt or nonfat Greek yogurt
- 1-2 TBSP water as needed
- 1 small red onion diced small
- 1 TBSP olive oil
- ⅓ cup coarsely chopped walnuts
- ⅛ tsp turmeric powder
- 2 TBSP chopped fresh mint leaves, optional
- To bake the eggplants in the oven please refer to the How-To page of my blog. Or if you prefer, fry the peeled eggplants in the skillet until golden brown on both sides.
- Meanwhile in a medium skillet fry the sliced onions in 3 TBSP vegetable oil over medium heat until golden brown.
- Reduce the heat to low and add the tomato paste. Stir and saute for 4 minutes until fragrant. Add chopped garlic, stir and saute for another 2 minutes.
- Add 1 ¾ cup water, ½ tsp salt and ¼ tsp black pepper to the onion mixture and bring it to a boil over medium heat to make a sauce.
- Reduce the heat to medium low, add the eggplants, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Use the back of a spoon to mash the eggplants into small pieces. Cover and simmer for an additional 25 minutes. Most of the liquid should be cooked off and the sauce will be thickened.
- Meanwhile in a small skillet fry the diced red onion in 1 TBSP olive oil over medium heat until golden brown. Reduce the heat to low, add turmeric powder and chopped walnuts. Saute for about 5 minutes until fragrant and nutty.
- In a small bowl whisk the yogurt until smooth. Add 1-2 TBSP water as needed for a smoother consistency.
- Transfer the eggplant dip to a serving platter. Top with the yogurt. Sprinkle the roasted walnut mixture over the yogurt. Sprinkle with chopped fresh mint leaves, if desired. Serve with toasted flat bread.