Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Kashke Bademjan

Kashke Bademjan is a Persian eggplant dip, served warm or at room temperature unlike many other eggplant dips (like baba ganoush) which are best served cold. It's a great way to spice up your eggplant game, and couldn't be easier to make!

Traditionally, the eggplant is peeled, sliced, and fried, and later mashed up/pureed, but I wanted to lighten up the dip for a less guilty alternative. Whereas a more typical kashke bademjan sometimes has a layer of golden-hued oil along the surface, this version uses minimal oil, but still packs a ton of flavor!

Here the eggplants are roasted whole and then peeled and mashed. Thinly sliced onions are caramelized in a moderate amount of oil, and then later combined with garlic, dried mint, turmeric, and saffron in addition to the mashed eggplant.

This is already a flavor bomb before adding the kashk, a Middle Eastern ingredient made from drained yogurt. To be honest, I didn't bother to purchase this specialty ingredient, and instead used plain yogurt which still provides a wonderful creaminess and tang. I've eaten kashke bademjan both ways, with kashk and with yogurt, and they are both delicious.

A garnish of caramelized onions, crunchy walnuts and a sprig of mint are the final touches before serving with pita bread, lavash, or even sliced baguette. The excess oil is definitely not missed, and the flavors are fabulous! This is a great dip for entertaining guests or even just snacking.

Kashke Bademjan
Serves 6 as an appetizer or snack

2 medium to large Italian/globe eggplants
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons dried mint
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon saffron steeped in 1 tablespoon hot water
1/2 cup kashk, plain yogurt, or sour cream
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
Sprig of fresh mint

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place eggplants on a foil-lined sheet pan and roast, flipping over occasionally, until skin is blistered in spots, and the flesh is fork tender, about 45 minutes to an hour depending on the size of the eggplants. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly. Peel off the skin and remove the stem. Place the flesh of the eggplants into a bowl and mash with a potato masher until smooth. Set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, season with salt, and stir occasionally until softened and caramelized. Lower the heat to medium-low if necessary. This can take anywhere from 40 to 60 minutes. Remove 2 tablespoons of caramelized onions for garnish, and set aside.

To the pot of caramelized onions, add the garlic and dried mint and stir to combine. Then add in the mashed eggplant, turmeric, and saffon/water mixture. Cook for about 5 minutes until the eggplant is heated through, and the flavors have combined. Add the kashk, yogurt, or sour cream, mix thoroughly, and then season to taste with salt and pepper.

Transfer the eggplant mixture to a serving bowl and top with the reserved caramelized onions, chopped walnuts, and a sprig of fresh mint. Serve warm or at room temperature with pita bread, lavash, or slices of baguette.

*Note* Prior to mixing in the kashk or yogurt, the dip can be frozen for up to 2 months, then defrosted, reheated, and combined with the kashk/yogurt before serving.


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