Khoresh Bademjan: Persian Eggplant and Tomato Stew

Khoresh Bademjan Persian Eggplant and Tomato Stew

The Spruce / Miri Rotkovitz

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 39 mins
Total: 54 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
269 Calories
9g Fat
46g Carbs
7g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 269
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 9g 11%
Saturated Fat 2g 8%
Cholesterol 3mg 1%
Sodium 234mg 10%
Total Carbohydrate 46g 17%
Dietary Fiber 8g 27%
Total Sugars 30g
Protein 7g
Vitamin C 34mg 168%
Calcium 154mg 12%
Iron 2mg 10%
Potassium 1024mg 22%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Khoresh (sometimes spelled khoresht) is a mainstay of Persian cuisine. While khoresh bademjan, or eggplant stew, often includes meat, it's a recipe well suited to vegetarian adaptations. This version makes a delicious main dish served over plain steamed rice or tahdig (crusty Persian rice). For a less traditional take, serve it over quinoa or couscous. The stew is finished off with a dollop of yogurt herb sauce, which can be eliminated if you need to keep things vegan.

For this recipe, eggplant is paired with tomatoes, onion, garlic, and spices including cumin, turmeric, and cinnamon. A typical Middle Eastern ingredient, pomegranate molasses—a thick syrup made from reduced pomegranate juice and sugar— gives the stew a distinctive tang and depth of flavor. You can find it in Middle Eastern markets and at some specialty groceries or make your own. 

Stews like this one are ideal for cool weather al fresco dining during Sukkot. And since the palace intrigues of the Purim story took place in ancient Persia, this dish is the perfect addition to a Persian cuisine-inspired Purim seudah (feast)

Ingredients

For the Khoresh Bademjan:

  • 1 1/2 pounds eggplant, stemmed, peeled, and cut into 1-inch pieces

  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 large yellow onion, trimmed, peeled, and finely sliced

  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled, smashed, and finely chopped

  • 1 teaspoon cumin

  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric

  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra for salting the eggplant

  • 1 (28-ounce can) whole and peeled tomatoes, drained

  • 1/2 cup water

  • 1/4 cup pomegranate molasses

  • Pinch of saffron, optional

For the Yogurt Herb Sauce (optional):

  • 1 (6 to 7-ounce) container plain yogurt

  • 1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped

  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic, smashed, peeled, and finely chopped

  • Pinch of kosher salt

Steps to Make It

Make the Stew

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Place the eggplant in a large colander set over a bowl. Sprinkle with a generous pinch or two of kosher salt and set aside. 

  3. In a Dutch oven or large pan set over medium-high heat, warm the oil. Add the onion and sauté until soft and translucent and beginning to brown in spots, 7 to 9 minutes.

  4. Add the garlic, cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, and salt, and sauté until the onions are coated and spices are aromatic, about 1 minute more.

  5. If the eggplant has released a lot of liquid, pat it dry with paper towels or a clean tea towel. Then add the eggplant to the pan and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Sauté, turning to coat the eggplant in the onion and spice mixture, until the eggplant is tender and shrinks in volume, 8 to 10 minutes. 

  6. Stir in the tomatoes, using a spoon to break them into large chunks. Add the water, pomegranate molasses, and saffron, if using. Stir well.

  7. Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to low, and cook covered for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Make the Yogurt Herb Sauce

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a small bowl, mix together the yogurt, dill, garlic, and salt.

  3. Refrigerate, covered, until ready to serve.

Serve the Khoresh Bademjan

  1. Serve the stew hot over rice, quinoa, or couscous with a dollop of yogurt sauce. 

  2. Enjoy.

Pomegranate Molasses Substitutes

If you cannot find or make pomegranate molasses, there are a few ingredients to use in its place.

  • Pomegranate seeds; about 24 seeds equal ¼ cup molasses.
  • Cranberry juice (equal amount).
  • Balsamic vinegar (equal amount).
  • Tamarind paste mixed with honey (equal amount).

What Is the Difference Between Khoresh Bademjan and Kashke Bademjan?

Both Persian recipes, khoresh and kashke bademjan are made with eggplant, but while khoresh is a stew, kashke is a dip. Kashke bademjan calls for liquid kashk, which is yogurt whey, a typical Middle Eastern ingredient.

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