Khorsht Bademjan, The Eggplant Stew
It’s easy to say most of the Iranian cuisine is made from rice and stew, and we call it Chelo-Khoresht. So far, we told you about Ghormeh Sabzi and Fesenjan Stew, and now I am here to introduce you to the fantastically delicious Eggplant Stew, AKA Khoresht-Bademjan!
Give me a chance to quote one of my favorite youtube chefs, Andrew Rea from Binging with Babish, and say: “Let’s get down to basics.”
What do you need to make the stew?
In every Persian stew (Khoresht), you will find meat. It’s an integral part. Don’t worry vegetarians, I’ll separate it for you later on, but for now, we’ll keep it in the stew and give it some love.
For Khoresht, use lamb meat and cut it into one inch-cubes, the purpose of this is that everybody who’s eating, has a few pieces of meat on their plate, and they can have their meat in whatever portion they like.
The reason Persians use lamb is because of the taste, lamb meat is tender, contains more fat, and it cooks faster compared to beef. Beef takes longer to prepare, it contains less fat and has a different texture.
Iranians believe that where there is meat, there has to be an onion. You will never find a Persian food that contains meat with no onion in it.
Roughly diced onions in stews are just for taste, and you won’t be able to see them once the stew is ready to be served.
Any kind of eggplant will do, the long thin ones or the fat short ones, whichever you can find will make a wonderful Khoresht. Just peel the skin and slice them lengthwise. The tricky part of eggplants is their seeds, the bad thing about an eggplant with a lot of seeds, is that it means the eggplant is bitter. If you are unfortunate and you slice your eggplants and find seeds all over, you might still be able to save your stew a little bit, here is how:
Cut out the end, the seediest part of the eggplant, and sprinkle salt on each side of the remaining portion of your slices, sweat your eggplants and dab the moisture off with a paper towel; this will help with the bitterness.
A bitter eggplant will give you a bitter stew, and a seedy eggplant will compromise the texture.
All Persian foods contain turmeric; it’s the beloved brother of salt and pepper.
Turmeric adds a golden color to the food, making it visually more appealing.
Eggplants are typically tasteless, so they need all the help they can get. Some believe that an eggplant stew desperately needs verjuice, while others think that salt will do the job; this depends on your tastebuds.
Persian rice, also known as white rice, makes an absolute wonderful Chelo. Explaining how to cook a perfect pot of rice is one of the hardest things to do for all Iranians. If you are a Persian home-cook, you definitely eyeball every proportion, and that’s the reason explaining the proportions of anything may lead to brain cells dying. Jokes aside, here are the tips I can teach you for the perfect Chelo-Khoresht.
Don’t let the timing scare you, as we all know you can’t rush perfection! Here is how to make the perfect Chelo Khoresht, Persian lunch, a mixture of textures, and an absolute delight.
If you want a Tahdig (that famous crunchy crust) with your rice, here is what you need to know.
Basically, anything can be turned into Tahdig, starting from bread or potatoes all the way to vegetables like lettuce, any crispness on the bottom of your pot is considered Tahdig.
Some Tahdigs are more famous than others, such as potatoes, bread, and rice. Also, zucchini, eggplant, cabbage, and lettuce are just as delicious as the rest.
Use your imagination, fry it up, and be confident that it’ll turn out fantastic.
Make saffron rice by grinding a pinch of saffron in a medium-sized bowl, mixing it with one or two tablespoons of boiling water, and letting it sit for one to two minutes. Then you add the cooked rice you just made to the bowl, and toss the rice with saffron until it turns golden yellow. You can design your Chelo with spoonfuls of saffron rice.
Making Tahdig is hard for someone who has never done it before, so if you are a beginner stick to flatbread, it turns crispier much sooner, and if you burn it… well, who doesn’t like a little bit of burnt bread.
Vegetarian Eggplant Stew:
For my vegan/vegetarian friends, I promised you that I’d separate the meat. You’ll need to change a few steps, so let me dive in real quick.
After peeling, slicing, and pan-frying the eggplants, take them out of the pan, and add diced onion to the remaining oil.
Saute the onion, add seasoning, tomato paste and water, add cooked eggplants back in and let it simmer for 30-40 minutes.
You can enjoy it with bread or rice however you like.
Serving: 1 person
Vitamin A: 22.4IU
Vitamin C: 14.7mg