I’ve decided my favorite dishes in the world are comprised of very simple ingredients, cooked in unique ways that create complexity. Russian and Vietnamese months both fell into this category in my mind.
This dish does too.
There’s nothing complex about Khoresh Bademjan (eggplant stew) except the resulting flavors. It’s basically a stew you let sit on the stove for about an hour. And within that hour, magic happens.
In my mind, the pomegranate molasses is what takes this recipe to a new level. It’s a unique ingredient but one that’s accessible for anyone to have on hand. The pomegranate molasses adds layers of depth through a hint of sweetness and fruitiness that makes the end result so enjoyable to eat.
Like most stews, it’s even better the next day.
Roasted eggplant meshes with tomatoes, caramelized onions and warm spices to create a stew that begs to be spooned over a heaping pile of jasmine rice. I also served this with a giant dollop of Mast-o-Khiar (recipe coming soon!).
The smells permeating my house makes me want to make this again. I probably will once I pick up more exotic Persian spices.
I found a lot of variations of this recipe on the internet but I started with this one because I had most of the ingredients in the house already. This recipe is adapted from Food52.
This Khoresh Bademjan is a perfect Iranian intro dish because there’s no skill required and you don’t need a special trip to a Middle Eastern grocery store.
(start making 2 hours before you want Khoresh Bademjan)
* I’ve seen a few recipes recommend the Japanese eggplants because they are smaller and have less seeds. My grocery store didn’t have these, so I used the bigger eggplants. This recipe typically uses split peas, but I didn’t have these in my pantry so I used lentils and I imagine the outcome is similar.
Preheat your oven to 425F. Skin, and cut your eggplant into bite sized pieces. Cover with about a tablespoon of oil, season with salt, and roast in the oven for about 35 minutes.
While this is happening, cook your lentils or split peas according to the package instructions.
Then, get the remaining 4 tablespoons of oil warm on the stove in a large pot, set to medium-high. Add your sliced onions and stir for about 2 minutes. Then reduce your heat to low-medium and cook for about 30 minutes. You want your onions soft and caramelized.
Then, add your tomatoes, eggplant, turmeric, cinnamon, pomegranate molasses, garlic, stock. Let simmer on the stovetop for an hour, mostly covered.
Remove the lid, and continue simmering for about 15 minutes. Season with salt/pepper if needed.
Serve with jasmine rice and a giant dollop of Mast-o-Khiar.