Kashk e Bademjan and Borani Bademjan - Eggplant Dip
While Kashk is a dry remnant of yogurt cooked down in water, it has a definitive flavour.
The Kashk e bademjan is a Persian appetiser. Eggplant, kashk and walnuts, are the key ingredients. Saffron is the luxury to this dish. It is served with freshly baked Taftoon and Barbari.
Roasted eggplants taste creamy and rather smoky. You can do this one on the stovetop or the oven. Eaten warm or cold it is delicious. Other cuisines in the geographical region also have similar recipes like the bhurut or bhurtu from the Parsi and Gujarati Indian Cuisines.
The Afghani cuisine has the Borani bademjan; anything mixed in yogurt is referred to as a Borani. Legend has it that a young Persian princess PoranDokht was crowned Queen at her father’s sudden death. PoranDokhts’ favourite food was yogurt a change from the platters of meat prepared for the Kings. This left her Palace Kitchens in a dilemma to please their young queens’ palate every day. Her rule was short lived but the birth of the “Porani” continues. Over the years the word got lost in translation amidst Farsi, Dari and Arabic and hence turned into Borani as the Arabic language has no pronunciation of the sound P.
Serves 6 - 8
1 tbsp oil
2 large eggplants slit in half lengthwise
6 peeled large garlic cloves
1 tsp salt
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp dried mint
4 shallots or green onions, finely chopped
1 /2 tsp of cumin powder
½ cup of freshly chopped coriander leaves
1 tsp of dry mint; powdered between your fore fingers
½ tsp sumac
1 tbsp olive oil for drizzling
½ cup Kashk or thick yogurt, at room temperature
¾ cup walnuts – toasted and hand chopped
Pinch of saffron
A handful of fried onion
Heat in a deep pan the oil, add the eggplant, garlic cloves, salt and sugar. Cover and cook on a low fire till the eggplants are nice and soft. Approximately 1 hour. Cool. Remove the pulp with a large spoon, discarding any big seed pockets and the skin. Lightly mash together with a fork and return to the pan. Add to the same pot, the finely chopped green onions, cumin powder, coriander leaves and dry mint - which has been crushed to a powder between your fore fingers. Cover and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes on a low heat. In a bowl beat together the plain yogurt and gently fold it into the eggplant dip when ready to serve. Serve warm with a sprinkle of sumac, dry mint and a drizzle of olive oil, with warm lavash or taftan flat bread.
Flat leaf parsley is more common in Persian food than coriander.
While dry mint has a definitive flavour and a must in many Persian recipes a handful of fragrant fresh mint that has been finely chopped can be added instead.
When in season fresh tender stems of green garlic from your local farmers market will make this dish burst with flavour. Finely chop 4 of them and add it for the last 10 minutes.
Adding a handful of finely chopped fried brown onions is an option to add to the sweetness of this traditional dish.
Photo courtesy Sheriar Hirjikaka