One of the reasons khoresht bademjan, Persian eggplant stew, is so scrumptious is that the eggplants cook in a rich and aromatic sauce of caramelized onions, spices and tomato paste and absorb all these flavors like a sponge. Eggplants have a spongy texture that when fried absorb a lot of oil, most of which is released during cooking as the air pockets in eggplants collapse. However, the oil that is left in the eggplants absorbs the rich flavors of the sauce creating a very soft and buttery texture in the eggplants making them irresistibly delicious.
Khoresht Bademjan (Eggplant Stew)
Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 2 hour
Ready in: 2 hour 15 min
Yields: 6 servings
1 large onion chopped
6 tablespoons oil for frying onion
2 pounds good quality flat iron roast, cut into 1½-inch cubes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
½ teaspoon turmeric
pinch of saffron (optional)
1½ teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
¼ cup fresh lemon juice or 6 dried Persian limes
2½ cups hot water
½ cup vegetable oil for frying eggplants
8 Japanese eggplants peeled
Heat 6 tablespoons of oil in a medium-sized pot over medium-high heat. Add chopped onions and fry for 8 to 10 minutes or until slightly golden. Stir occasionally.
Add meat, tomato paste and turmeric to the fried onions and cook for 5 minutes or until the meat is slightly browned.
Stir in 2½ cups hot water, salt, pepper, saffron and Persian limes. Bring to a boil. Cover and cook over medium-low heat for 1 hour or until the meat is almost cooked.
While the meat is cooking, heat ½ cup of oil in a large skillet and fry the eggplants until golden brown.
Gently place the eggplants over the meat and continue cooking khoresht bademjan over low heat for another 30 to 40 minutes.
Taste and adjust the seasoning.
Serve khoresht bademjan over basmati rice.