Kashk e Bademjan and Borani Bademjan-Eggplant Dip
While kashk is a dry remnant of yoghurt cooked down in water, it has a distinct flavour.
Kashk e bademjan is a Persian appetiser. Eggplant, kashk, and walnuts are the key ingredients. This dish's luxury ingredient is saffron. It is served with freshly baked taftoon and barbari.
Roasted eggplant tastes creamy and rather smoky. You can do this one on the stovetop or in 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 yoghurt is referred to as a Borani. 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’ palates every day. Her rule was short-lived but the birth of the "Porani" continued. 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 them together with a fork and return them to the pan. Add to the same pot, the finely chopped green onions, cumin powder, fresh coriander leaves, and dry mint—which have been crushed to a powder between your fingertips. Cook, covered, for 10 to 15 minutes on a low heat. In a bowl, beat together the plain yoghurt 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 distinct flavour and is 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 farmer's market will make this dish burst with flavour. Finely chop 4 of them and add them 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
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The World of Parsi Cooking: Food Across Borders is a 3 award winning book. It has been self published in July 2019 and will be going into its second print in 2022.
The Art of Parsi Cooking; reviving an ancient cuisine was published in 2016 by Austin Macauley and continues to be available through amazon book depot book depository and from the publishers.