Eggplant Stew (Khoresh Bademjan)
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.
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.
Eggplant Stew(Khoresh Bademjan)
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.
Type: Main Course
Keywords: Eggplant Stew,Khoresh Bademjan
Recipe Yield: 4
Preparation Time: 1H
Cooking Time: 4H
Total Time: 5H
Recipe Ingredients: For the stew 3 Italian eggplants 4 Japanese/Chinese eggplants, peeled and sliced 2 tbsp vegetable oil for pan-frying eggplants 300 gr Lamb meat, copped to 1-inch cubes 1 Medium onion, roughly diced 2 tbsp vegetable oil for sauteing onions 2 tbsp Tomato paste 1 tsp Salt ½ tsp Black pepper 1 tsp Turmeric 2 cups Water ¼ cup Verjuice For the rice 3 cups of Persian rice/white rice (¾ cup rice per person) 4 cups water, boiling 1 ½ tbsp Salt 2 tbsp Frying oil for Tahdig (optional)
Step 1: Preferably use fresh meat but if you have it frozen, Defrost, and cut them into one-inch cubes
Step 2: Peel the eggplants and slice them lengthwise, sprinkle each side with salt and sweat them for five minutes this helps if the eggplants are bitter, dab the excess moisture with a paper towel.
Step 3: In a medium-sized pan, heat up one glug of vegetable oil and pan fry your eggplant slices for 2-3 minutes per side or until browned.
Step 4: Roughly dice an onion.
Step 5: Heat a pot big enough for the amount of your stew and add two tablespoons of vegetable oil, add diced onion and saute for two minutes on medium-high heat.
Step 6: Add the cubed meat.
Step 7: Season the meat with the seasonings mentioned. Also, add two tablespoons of tomato paste.
Step 8: Pour in four cups of water, let it boil, turn the heat down to low, cover the pot with a lid and let it cook for 2-3 hours until the meat is well-done.
Step 9: Soak the rice in a bowl of water for thirty minutes.
Step 10: Boil four cups of water in another pot.
Step 11: Season the boiling water with three tablespoons of salt
Step 12: Pour the soaked rice in the pot of boiling water and let it cook on medium-high for 30-40 minutes or until the rice is cooked.
Step 13: Strain the rice and wash it with cold water to prevent it from cooking more.
Step 14: For Tahdig, slice two to three potatoes thinly (depending on how big or small your pot is, make sure the slices are completely covering the bottom of your pot) or use flatbread.
Step 15: Add a glug of vegetable oil to your pot, heat the oil on medium-high and carefully place the pieces of your desired Tahdig (bread/potato)
Step 16: Let them crisp up and turn golden-brown before adding the cooked rice.
Step 17: Turn the heat down, cover the pot with a lid, and let it steam for 30-40 minutes.
Step 18: Meanwhile, over at the pot with your cooking stew, add the previously cooked eggplant slices to your stew and let it cook for an additional thirty minutes.
Step 19: Pour in the preferred amount of verjuice and let it boil on medium-high heat for another ten minutes.
Step 20: Enjoy!
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