Kashk Bademjan is a delicious traditional Persian eggplant dish. Bademjan is Farsi for eggplant. The dish is made with Kashk or fermented whey but in this simplified and healthy version, I substitute Greek yogurt for this item (maybe I should rename the dish Yogurt Bademjan?). I highly recommend Japanese eggplants as they are tastier and have fewer seeds than the usual large eggplants you find at your local grocery store or farmer's market. You will see I didn't use Japanese eggplant in my recipe but that's only because there were none left :( And finally, in this dish, the eggplant is usually fried or sautéed, but in my healthier version I essentially grill them inside the oven instead. And don't forget to serve this amazing dish with warm lavash or pita.
2 large eggplants (or 3 Japanese eggplants)
4-5 tablespoons olive oil
3 heaping tablespoons nonfat Greek yogurt
3 cloves garlic
A pinch of powdered saffron
1/4 cup walnut pieces
2 tablespoons dried mint
First preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Next, take your eggplant and peel as seen below:
Cut eggplant into large pieces and place into a colander. Generously add salt (about 2 tablespoons- don't worry you are going to wash this off) and toss the eggplant so that the salt is well distributed on all pieces. Let the eggplant sit there for about 20-30 minutes. You will notice that over this time period, tiny droplets will appear on the surface of the eggplant. You can think of this process as the eggplant "sweating out" or getting rid of any bitter taste.
After this process is complete, wash the eggplant pieces thoroughly and pat them dry with a paper towel. Now place them into a bowl and toss well with about 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil so that all pieces are nicely coated. Place onto a large cookie sheet and into the oven to bake at 350 until they are golden brown (about half an hour). For the last 5 minutes of the cooking process you can broil the eggplant:
Take the pieces out of the oven....
And place them into the food processor with the garlic cloves and saffron (which will give this dish a beautiful color):
And pulse on the food processor until the mixture becomes nice and creamy. Place into a bowl and add Greek yogurt:
Just another view zoomed out:
Now stir the yogurt with the eggplant mixture until nicely blended. Set that aside. Grab a pan and add about 2 tablespoons olive oil and dried mint:
Heat on medium and saute for just a few minutes:
Place your Kashk Bademjan into a nice bowl, add the walnut pieces on top and garnish with the mint you just prepared: