In khoresht bademjan, fried eggplants cook in a rich and aromatic tomato sauce. The spongy texture of eggplants, when fried, absorbs a lot of oil, some of which is released during cooking as the air pockets in the eggplants collapse. However, the oil that is left in the eggplants absorbs the rich flavors of the sauce and creates a soft and buttery texture in the eggplants.
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 4.5-quart nonstick pot over medium-high heat. Add chopped onions and fry for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown. Add meat, tomato paste and turmeric, fry for 5 minutes until meat is slightly browned. Add 2½ cups hot water, salt, and pepper, saffron and lemon juice or dried limes and bring to boil. Lower heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 1 ½ hours.
Meantime heat 1/2 cup of oil in a large nonstick skillet and fry the eggplants until golden brown.
When meat is fork tender, gently place the eggplants over the meat. Cover and simmer over low heat for 30 to 40 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed.
Serve over white rice.