This recipe for khoresht bamieh bademjan ba morgh is for the health conscious people who prefer chicken breast over red meat. I know it’s an awfully long name for a dish, but it basically means chicken stew with eggplant and okra, the Persian way of course :).
For this stew, you can use either globe eggplants or Japanese eggplants depending on what you can find. The globe eggplants vary in size anywhere from under a pound to over a pound and are the most common variety you would find year round in supermarkets. They are usually oval or pear shaped and have dark purple skins. If using globe eggplants, check my recipe for vegetarian khoresht bamieh bademjan for instructions on how to prepare them. Just to give you an idea, one globe eggplant can be substituted for 3 Japanese eggplants. Luckily, I was able to find Japanese eggplants which are the smaller elongated and slender variety with thinner skin and a more delicate and sweeter flavor. For instructions on how to prepare the Japanese variety, please check my recipe for pressure cooker khoresht bademjan.
When buying eggplants, look for the firm ones with shiny and taut skin. When you press gently on the eggplant, the finger mark should disappear quickly if the eggplant is fresh. If the indentation remains, it’s overripe and the inside is probably mushy. If the eggplant feels rock hard and there is no give, it’s probably unripe. Most eggplants aren’t bitter. However, the larger ones that were given more time to mature have bigger and darker seeds that may be slightly bitter. Another thing to look for is the weight of the eggplant. It should feel heavier than it looks. For Japanese eggplants try to pick the ones that are straight and the same size so that they brown all around easier and cook more evenly. It would be hard to fry a curved eggplant in a little oil, because the curved section won’t touch the hot oil to brown unless you add a lot more oil to the pan, not to mention trying to steady it from rolling over.
Fry your globe or Japanese eggplants using the method of your choice by either frying them on the stovetop, baking them in the oven or salting and baking them in the oven. As for okras, keep them intact to prevent sliminess, and just cut off the stem ends without getting too close to the pod, then fry them in oil for few minutes.
While the eggplants are frying, sauté your onions until fragrant and slightly golden. Then add chicken tenders, garlic, seasonings and tomato paste.
Stir to coat the chicken pieces with the onion mixture. Cook the chicken tenders for 3 to 4 minutes on each side.
Stir in lemon juice, water and saffron. At this point, the chicken usually has to cook longer before adding the eggplants, that is if you’re using thighs, drumsticks or whole breasts. But, in this case since the chicken tenders cook quickly, you can proceed to the next step without letting them cook more.
Gently place the eggplants and okras over the chicken tenders and cook for 30 to 40 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Always taste and adjust the seasoning toward the end of cooking, because the sauce reduces in volume intensifying the flavors.
After adding the eggplants and okras do not stir your stew. You want to keep the okras intact and the eggplants from falling apart. Cook your stew until eggplants are tender. The stew is usually ready when the oil separates to the top, yummy! I skim most of the oil off though, but leave some for flavor. The eggplants in this stew readily soak up the delicious flavors of the sauce and turn creamy and succulent.
Serve over fluffy and aromatic basmati rice.
Khoresht Bamieh Bademjan Ba Morgh (Eggplant Stew with Okra)
Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 1 hour 30 min
Ready in:1 hour 45 min
Yields: 6 servings
1 pound fresh okra rinsed and stem ends trimmed
8 Japanese eggplants peeled
½ cup olive oil divided
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion chopped
3 large garlic cloves chopped
3 tablespoons tomato paste
½ teaspoon turmeric
1½ teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
8 chicken tenders
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
2 cups hot water
¼ teaspoon ground saffron (optional)
For vegetables – Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add okras, cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
Wash and dry the skillet. Heat the remaining olive oil in the skillet and fry the eggplants until golden brown.
For sauce – While the eggplants are frying, heat 4 tablespoons olive oil in a medium-sized shallow pan. Add chopped onions and cook over medium-high heat until slightly golden, about 6 to 8 minutes. Stir occasionally to keep from burning.
Add chicken tenders, garlic, tomato paste, turmeric, salt and pepper. Lower heat to medium and cook the chicken for 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Stir in lemon juice, water and saffron.
Assembly – Place eggplants and okras over the chicken tenders and cook 30 to 40 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
Serve over fluffy and fragrant basmati rice.