Keep things cool and exotic with this ridiculously easy to make yet delicious Borani Bademjan (Persian Eggplant Dip with Yogurt).
When you think of fall, you imagine the changing of the seasons. Here in the U.S. this means the end of warm summer nights and the beginning of cool fall evenings. But in San Diego, summer lingers a little longer.
We often have hot and dry Octobers which finds us in the heart of fire season. So while everyone else is enjoying hot stews and warm bowls of soup in cool weather, we are still grilling, enjoying ice cream and keeping cool with cold delights.
With the drought this year, we did not plant too much in our summer vegetable garden. Instead, I will reminisce about the eggplant and tomatoes we enjoyed in summers past.
During these last few weeks of warm weather, many Southern California gardens are still producing summer produce. That is why this year, to celebrate fall and Mehregan (the Persian fall holiday), I decided to keep things on the cooler side.
Why you have to try this recipe
Persians absolutely adore eggplant, and I do, too. Don’t let the texture prevent you from enjoying these flavorful vegetables. I no longer purchase the fat, American eggplant you find in the grocery stores.
I prefer the smaller eggplant varieties: Italian, Japanese and even the little round baby eggplants. Their skin is thinner and edible. Last year, I grew these white beauties, Ghost Eggplants, pictured below. Now that is fitting for this October month, right?
Today’s dish, Persian Yogurt with Eggplant Dip (Borani Bademjan), is a wonderful appetizer to serve with lavash or pita wedges. Whichever variety of eggplant you use, you can fry or bake your eggplant.
Since eggplant soaks up a lot of oil, I prefer to bake it, especially since it will be mashed afterwards and mixed with the other ingredients.
My mother-in-law decorated and garnished the final dish for the picture. She has patient and delicate hands compared to my clumsy, chunky hands. It is garnished with dried mint and dried rose petals. Gorgeous isn’t it?
It is a simple dish that is incredibly delicious. If you like this borani, you might also want to try borani esfenaj (spinach borani).
Ingredients you need
- Eggplant: You can use any variety of eggplant, but I am partial to the smaller versions as they have less seeds and water.
- Yogurt: I prefer thick Greek style yogurt or Persian yogurt, which is a little sour in flavor. You can also make your own yogurt.
- Walnuts: These add a little crunch. You can also use pecans or omit altogether.
- Dried mint: You could also use fresh mint, but dried mint sautéed in olive oil is incredibly fragrant.
- Kitchen staples: Extra virgin olive oil, onion, garlic, salt and pepper
- Optional garnishing: crushed saffron dissolved with 1 TBS hot water and/or crushed rose petals.
1. Wash eggplant and poke with a fork several times. Place eggplants on oven rack and bake at 350ºF until done. Be sure to put a tray underneath the eggplants to catch drips. Remove eggplants from oven and allow to cool. Once cool enough to touch, cut in half and scoop out and mash the soft flesh. Reserve in a bowl.
2. Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat and add olive oil and sliced onions. When onions start to soften, reduce heat to medium-low and cook until onions brown and caramelize, about 30 minutes.
4. Mix mashed eggplant into the onions along with garlic, salt, pepper and dried mint. Cover and cook for 5 minutes then turn off the heat. Remove from heat and let cool.
5. Mix yogurt with eggplant mixture. Transfer dip into serving bowl. Garnish with 1 teaspoon mint, saffron water, walnuts and rose petals.
Recipe tips and FAQs
Are you a fan of yogurt dishes? You should try my mast o khiar (Persian yogurt with cucumber. You can serve this with lavash, pita wedges or even potato chips. You can also serve it with Persian dolmeh, too.
Borani is typically served as a dip. You can serve it with pieces of flat bread like lavash or with pita bread. You can also serve with potato chips, pita chips or vegetables like carrots, celery and cucumbers.
Persian borani is a yogurt dip that is mixed with sautéd vegetables. Some vegetables include spinach beet root, celery, zucchini, butternut squash, pumpkin and eggplant. Herbs, onions and garlic are also mixed in for more flavor.
You should use a thick plain yogurt to make borani. Greek yogurt, for example, is readily available in grocery stores and makes a great base for borani. Do not use a watery yogurt, as it will not be able to hold up the vegetables. Also try yogurts you find in middle eastern stores or more your own. Just pass it through a cheese cloth to drain out the excess water.
- 2 lb eggplant
- 2 TBS extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion, sliced thinly
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 cup yogurt
- 1 ¼ teaspoon dried mint (optional)
- ⅛ teaspoon crushed saffron, dissolved with 1 TBS hot water (optional)
- 2 TBS finely chopped walnuts
- 1 TBS dried crushed rose petals
- Preheat oven to 350ºF.
- Wash eggplant and poke with a fork several times.
- Place eggplants on oven rack and bake until done, 30 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the size and thickness of your eggplant. Be sure to put a tray underneath the eggplants to catch drips.
- Remove eggplants from oven and allow to cool. Once cool enough to touch, cut in half and scoop out and mash the soft flesh. Reserve in a bowl.
- Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat and add olive oil and sliced onions.
- When onions start to soften, reduce heat to medium-low and cook until onions brown and caramelize, about 30 minutes.
- Mix mashed eggplant into the onions along with garlic, salt, pepper and ¼ teaspoon mint.
- Cover and cook for 5 minutes then turn off the heat.
- Remove from heat and let cool.
- Mix yogurt with eggplant mixture.
- Transfer dip into serving bowl.
- Garnish with 1 teaspoon mint, saffron water, walnuts and rose petals.
Serving Suggestions: Serve with pita bread, chips and/or an assortment of vegetables.
Cooking Tips: Traditionally, middle-eastern yogurt is thick and a little sour. If you can not find authentic middle-eastern yogurt, you may need to adjust the seasonings.
Serving Size:½ cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 171Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 5mgSodium: 638mgCarbohydrates: 22gFiber: 4gSugar: 11gProtein: 6g
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