Khoresh Bademjan is a traditional dish that celebrates the flavor and texture of roasted eggplants, tomatoes and stewed lamb. The simple flavor profile is deceptive. This rich stew layers the flavors in each step of the cooking process.
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What Is Khoresh Bademjan?
Khoresh Bademjan means eggplant stew in Farsi. As with most traditional dishes around the World, there are a few variations out there. One of the beauties of cooking is tweaking and adapting recipes to your own preferences.
I have found many variations of this recipe but most have a few ingredients in common. Most have eggplants, tomatoes, onion, turmeric, cinnamon, salt and pepper. There is also tartness added in various forms such as Persian dried limes, fresh lime or lemon juice or sour grapes. From there, family variations and personal preferences have taken over.
For this particular recipe, I used less eggplant and more meat. My husband likes lamb more than eggplant. If you want to stay traditional simply use more eggplant and less meat.
What Kind Of Eggplant Can I Use?
Up until this point I have only eaten the large globe eggplant that is common is supermarkets around me. With this recipe I used smaller Italian eggplants and roasted them before putting them in the stew toward the end of the recipe. I have never eaten an eggplant with this much flavor before. The flavor comes from the smaller variety and the roasting method, which in my opinion is the best way to cook vegetables.
Any small variety of eggplant would probably work really well. Some people use Indian eggplant but you could use the large globe eggplant if that is all you can find.
I am now a fan of eggplant, at least the Italian variety for now. Cooking this dish has inspired me to try all of the eggplants. Which is your favorite variety and why? Leave a comment below, I need some direction in my culinary life.
About The Lamb
I came up with this recipe by adapting what I read, to how I cook in my kitchen. I mostly buy leg of lamb which is a tough cut of meat. I find this cut of meat more affordable and easier to find in my neighborhood.
I get around the toughness by stewing it a long time in my crockpot, usually 3-4 hours on high or 5-8 on low. Sometimes I make a whole lamb dish in the crockpot like Gyros, but this time I just cooked the lamb with a few spices and added it to the Persian stew toward the end. This method resulted in a very tender cut of meat and by adding it to the traditional ingredients toward the end of this recipe, each layer of flavor was preserved instead of homogenizing in a crockpot.
About The Tomatoes
I also used a high quality canned tomato product. So far in my culinary journey, my favorite canned tomatoes are from Cento but I know there are many more flavorful varieties out there. I rarely use fresh tomatoes in my cooking because they lack flavor, at least the varieties that are in my area. Canned tomato varieties are selected for taste and not shipping since they are usually canned the same day. They are much more flavorful, convenient and even cheaper.
About The Acid
This stew has a distinctive but not assertive sourness. This is traditionally achieved with Persian dried limes, also known as Limoo Amani. I have a middle eastern market not too far from where I live. If you aren’t as lucky, you can always buy them online.
If this isn’t for you, you can use fresh lemon or lime juice or even vinegar at the very end of cooking. Citrus juice will lose their freshness and may even turn bitter if cooked so it is ALWAYS best to add at the end of cooking or even save as a garnish at the table.
How To Serve
This Persian stew is usually served with rice. It can be plain, white long-grain rice or you could serve it with one of the classic Persian rice dishes. I think this dish would be fun to serve with flatbread too.
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