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Afghan braised eggplant with yogurt dressing (Banjaan borani)

Sometimes I cook a dish that takes me by surprise. I do love everything eggplant, but this dish in particular is phenomenal.

As I do follow culture and history through food, this dish is very similar to dishes from Persian and Mediterranean origin, particularly another dish from Turkey, Ali nazik. While the Turkish version does have meat in it, the base concept and flavors are very similar.

This rather simple dish is both visually stunning and bursts on your palate. In the other Afghan recipes that I have made, I have discussed how delicate and subtle the flavors are, but not in this case. The soft roasted eggplant is on a bed of creamy yogurt that comes alive with the spicy tomato sauce that is loaded with chili. The dish is a perfect balance of creamy, tangy and spicy layered over the soft roasted eggplant. The best way to enjoy this dish is with some naan or pita bread, something that you can use to sop up the sauce. This is definitely a dish that is going to come out at my next dinner party.

I love new cookbooks, ok I am a bit obsessed, about new cuisines and learning about cultures through food and spices. This cookbook does just that. It is filled with wonderful recipes that are delicious and they do stae my craving fr this cuisine.

For more delicious recipes from this cookbook click here.



Ingredients:

2 large eggplants, or 6-7 small Japanese eggplants

Oil spray

Salt, to taste

Pepper, to sprinkle


2 tablespoons oil

1 large onion, sliced fine

6 cloves garlic, minced

2-3 spicy red chilies, sliced in half

2 teaspoons ground coriander

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

5 tomatoes, sliced horizontally

1/2 cup water

Salt, to taste

Mint leaves, torn, to garnish

Chili powder, to sprinkle


For the dressing:

1 cup yogurt, whipped

2 garlic cloves, finely minced

Salt, to taste


Heat the oven to 375 F.


Cut the eggplant into long slices and layer on a lined baking tray. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and spray with oil. Bake for 15-20 minutes till the eggplant is roasted and very soft. Set aside.


To make the sauce, on medium heat a pot with the oil and add the onions, chilies and garlic and sauté for 2-3 minutes till the onions are soft and translucent. Turn the heat to low and add the coriander powder, sugar, turmeric, chili powder, and vinegar and give the pot a stir for 2-3 minutes.


Carefully layer the tomatoes on top of the cooked vegetables and onions, add the water and salt and bring to a simmer. Cook covered for 15 minutes till the sauce has thickened and the tomatoes are broken down. Do not stir the pot.


Carefully layer the cooked eggplant over the sauce, add a touch of water if needed and simmer sealed for another 10 minutes.


Meanwhile, make the yogurt by combining all the ingredients and mixing well into a smooth dressing.


To serve, spread 3/4 tablespoons of the yogurt on a large platter. Spoon the eggplants and sauce carefully over the yogurt. Spoon any remaining sauce over the eggplants. Spoon the rest of the yogurt over the eggplants to create a beautiful presentation platter. Garnish with torn mint leaves and chili powder.

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