A week ago my husband and I were invited to a friend’s house for a Persian dinner party. My friend Sholeh is an intuitive cook who rarely uses a recipe. She made two main dishes and a couple of different Persian rice dishes. This eggplant stew was fantastic and beautiful to look at. Great for a vegetarian main dish as well as a side dish. Here is her recipe.
Khoresh Bademjaan (Persian Eggplant Stew)
10 Italian eggplants, preferably small, 4-5″ long
1 to 1 and 1/2 pounds beef chuck or eye of round cut in to 1/2″ cubes
1/2 pound or less okra
one small box cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup yellow split peas
salt & pepper
1 teaspoon garam masala
I 16oz can of tomato paste
4 dried lemons (leemo amani, bought at middle eastern food stores)
2 or 3 dried cloves
1 large onion or 2 small ones diced
3 or 4 bay leaves
saffron diluted in boiling water (a pinch of saffron strands in a half a cup boiling water will produce a beautiful orange color)
In a large frying pan sauté onions till golden and add the beef cubes.
Once you have sealed the meat, add four cups of water and a couple of bay leaves to the pan and cook for one to one and a half hours or until the meat is tender, should come apart with a fork.
While the beef is cooking wash, skin, and sauté the eggplants thoroughly on all sides, set aside. Sauté the okra and set aside.
Sauté the tomatoes for just two minutes tossing all the time and set aside. Cook the split peas on low heat for ten minutes making sure it doesn’t boil over and set aside, Its a good idea to cook the peas with a bay leaf.
When the beef has cooked completely add the dried lemons, the cloves, and the Garam masala; season with salt and pepper to taste.
In a 5 quart sauce pan or preferably a shallow cast iron pan assemble the stew. If you already cooked the meat in the cast iron pan then just arrange the eggplants three each on all four sides of the pan and put the okra in the middle of the pan then spread the cooked peas on top and add , and the tomatoes.
Add three to four teaspoons saffron diluted in warm water and simmer the stew for twenty minutes to half an hour on very low hear for the juices and flavors to mix.
Your Khoresh Bademjaan is ready at last and should be served with plain basmati rice. Enjoy.