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Vegetarian Khoresht Bamieh Bademjan (Eggplant Stew with Okra)

Prep time: 15 min
Cook time:  1 hour 30 min
Ready in: 1 hour 45 min
Yields: 6 servings


For vegetables
2 large globe eggplants
1 pound fresh okra
½ cup olive oil divided

For sauce
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
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
2 cups hot water
¼ teaspoon ground saffron (optional)


Preheat oven to 400° F (200° C).

Using a sharp knife make a shallow cut around the head of the eggplants and remove the leafy parts overlapping the flesh (optional). Peel eggplants, cut into quarters (cut in half lengthwise, cut each half into quarters lengthwise).

Place eggplants in a non-stick roasting pan. Drizzle with olive oil, coating all sides. Roast, on the lower rack of oven, until golden brown, about 35 to 40 minutes. Check every 10 to 15 minutes to flip them over. Globe eggplants soak up less oil when browned in oven.

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add okras, cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and set aside.

Keep okras intact to prevent them from becoming mushy and slippery when cooked. When cleaning, cut the stem ends without getting too close to the pod. Okras release a gelatinous substance when pierced during cooking.

While eggplants are roasting, heat 4 tablespoons oil in a medium shallow pot. Add chopped onions, cook over medium-high heat until slightly golden, about 6 to 8 minutes. Stir occasionally to keep from burning. Add garlic, cook 2 to 3 minutes until fragrant. Stir in tomato paste, turmeric, salt and pepper. Lower heat to medium, cook 3 to 4 minutes, stirring frequently, to develop a richer color and flavor in the sauce. Stir in lemon juice, water and saffron.

Add eggplants and okras to the sauce, cook 30 to 40 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Serve over basmati rice.