Persians love their pickled vegetables and this pickled eggplant with pomegranate (torshi bademjan ba anar) is thick, incredibly delicious and super easy to make. Find more of my pomegranate recipes.
Eggplants are some seriously under appreciated vegetables here in the US. As a kid, I didn’t care much for eggplant. But as I got older, I couldn’t get enough of it. I love eggplant parmesan and Persian eggplant stew (khoresh bademjan).
In fact, the Middle East and Mediterranean use eggplant in all aspects of cooking. This incredible vegetable is so full of flavor and really worthy to be on your menu. And today, I am sharing with you another eggplant recipe: pickled eggplant with pomegranate (torshi bademjan ba anar)
What is torshi?
The term “pickle” means something here in the U.S. It’s a cucumber, that has been soaking in brine or vinegar to create a delicious condiment for a hamburger, sandwich or barbecue. Here in the US we also have pickled cabbage, pickled okra, pickled onions, pickled tomatoes and maybe a handful other sour delights.
Persians love pickling, too, especially our vegetables. And these pickled vegetables are called torshi, which translates basically to “sour stuff.” If it’s torsh, it’s sour. We also have our pickled cucumbers, but we really love our pickled vegetables.
My mother-in-law makes her own torshi, but I’m a little lazy and buy a jar or two at the Middle Eastern markets. The most common torshi is chopped vegetables like carrots and cauliflower, in a herb rich vinegar bath. The varieties of torshi are endless, and include a variety of different herbs. My aunt makes a torshi with mango, too.
Pickled eggplant with pomegranate (torshi bademjan ba anar)
A few weeks ago I received an email from a reader, Libby. Libby’s husband remembered having eggplant torshi made with pomegranates when he lived in Iran. Libby was looking for this recipe and wanted to know if I had heard of it.
I have made torshi with my mother-in-law before. It’s pretty simple, but there is a lot of prep work and chopping. You see, you don’t make a small jar of torshi. You make enough for the whole neighborhood! My grandmother and my aunt would make torshi with fruit, but never with pomegranates. So, I began my research.
In Iran, pomegranates are extremely popular. The Northern city of Saveh is famous because of the pomegranates grown there. Saveh produces an average of 130,000 pomegranates a year. They are large, juicy and sweet. They are considered to be the best pomegranates grown in the world.
And I suppose, they put pomegranates in everything, because Libby told me that the family friend who often brought this torshi were from Saveh. In my research on pomegranates and Saveh, I found this amazing book by Jacqueline Mirsadeghi, a Swiss photographer married to an Iranian and who has lived in Iran for the past 14 years.
She is passionate and has been photographing the gorgeous region of Saveh. She has a book, too, Pomegranate Garden, which I just put on my list of things to buy. You should check it out, too.
My husband quickly took over the job of creating our pomegranate torshi. Don’t get between an Iranian male and his comfort food. He made the torshi with eggplant, cauliflower and carrots. As our family likes foods more on the sour side than sweet, we used pomegranate concentrate and not molasses to the mix.
In fact, since I have discovered pomegranate concentrate, specifically the Sadaf brand which is FANTASTIC, I have been adding it in everything! So now when I visit the Middle Eastern store, I buy 2 or 3 bottles at a time.
What do you eat with pickled eggplant (torshi bademjan)?
Torshi is typically served on the side, as a condiment. Libby said her husband’s family eats it with their baghali pollo (basmati rice with dill and fava beans). We eat torshi with everything: koobideh kabob, loobia pollo even oven fried chicken! I had to snag the torshi from my hubby so I could quickly get a picture before he ate it all up.
“We have to make more of this stuff!” hubby told me last night. Agreed!
You can store your torshi in the refrigerator where it will last for months. Or if you are making enough for friends and family, feel free can using boiling water.
Persian Pickled Eggplant with Pomegranate (torshi bademjan ba anar)
Persians love their pickled vegetables and this pickled eggplant with pomegranate (torshi bademjan ba anar) is thick, incredibly delicious and super easy to make.
- 2 Italian eggplants, halved and cut into ½-inch pieces
- 2 cup white wine vinegar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 cup pomegranate concentrate
- ½ cup carrots, halved and cut into small pieces
- 1 cup cauliflower, chopped into small pieces
- ½ teaspoon dried fenugreek
- ¾ teaspoon dried tarragon
- 1 ½ teaspoon dried mint
- In a small pot over medium heat combine eggplant, garlic, vinegar, pomegranate concentrate, salt and pepper.
- Bring mixture to a boil and continue boiling for 20 more minutes.
- Remove from heat and stir in remaining vegetables and herbs.
- Divide mixture into jars. If you are canning your pickles, click here for hot water canning instructions. Store in a dark cool place. Pickles will be ready in 2-3 weeks.
- If you are not canning, let jars reach room temperature, seal and place in the refrigerator.
- Pickles will be ready in 2-3 weeks.
You can also use fresh herbs to make this pickled eggplant (torshi bademjan). Substitute with 1 ½ TBS chopped fresh fenugreek, 2 ½ teaspoon chopped fresh tarragon and 1 ½ TBS chopped fresh mint.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 22Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 78mgCarbohydrates: 4gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 1g
My husband’s family is from Gilan province and they use specific “Rob-e anar”. It is very thick and sour. We tried to cook some of their food with Sadaf concentrate and it did not work. The taste was not even similar. It was awful.
Very interesting. I have been very disappointed with the rob-e anar I find here in the US. It is thick, but super sweet. All I taste is sugar and no pomegranate. As I have not tried the original recipe, I made this torshi based on my and my husband’s personal preferences. We prefer low sugar and we like the pomegranate flavor in the Sadaf brand of concentrate. And of course, homemade rob-e anar is always our first choice!
I love eggplant, how tasty!