Monday, June 7, 2010

Eggplant Khoresh (Khoresh-e Bademjan)

My parents have been together for 47 years. My Persian father was working and living in Brazil when he met my Brazilian mother all those years ago. I grew up in Brazil and only visited Iran once. Even though I was very young at the time I still remember some things very clearly. My most vivid food memory of Iran was eating Kabab Koubideh at the local bazaar. I can still remember the fragrance and amazing taste of the Koubideh and the fluffy, saffron-steamed rice full of butter served with egg yolk on top. Perhaps this is where my obsession with rice began. My mother, being the amazing woman she is, helped bring a little of Iran back into our Brazilian home by frequently cooking my father's favorite Persian dishes.

Legend has it that the original name my father had in mind for me when I was born was Bademjan, the Farsi word for eggplant. Apparently my mom didn’t go for that but what did stick with me was my love for this vegetable. I absolutely enjoy almost everything with eggplant. And yes I know I said that about rice as well so let me clarify: it is rice first and then eggplant (and a long list of other loves that follow). Given our familial excitement about eggplant, Khoresh Bademjan (Eggplant Stew) was a popular dish as I grew up at home with my parents. Served always with steamed plain rice, Khoresh Bademjan is traditionally made with lamb but my mom always cooked it with beef.

Eggplant Khoresh

1 large onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
1 lb stew meat cut into cubes
About 5 eggplants (remember we really like eggplant so you might not need as many, perhaps 3 or so would do just fine....but not for my father and me)
1 (8oz) can tomato sauce
1 heaping teaspoon cinnamon
1 heaping teaspoon cumin
1 heaping teaspoon black pepper
Extra virgin Olive Oil
About 2 cups of boiling water
Pomegranate Syrup or Pomegranate Molasses to taste

Peel eggplants in 1-inch intervals lengthwise. Slice lengthwise, sprinkle with a little salt and leave in a colander to drain for about 1 hour.

Meanwhile, in a pressure cooker (or Dutch oven) heat the olive oil and sauté the onion. Add the meat and sear it. Add the cinnamon, cumin and black pepper. Stir in tomato sauce. Salt to taste, and add 2 cups of boiling water.

Lock lid in place and bring to high pressure over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat just enough to maintain high pressure and cook for about 20 to 25 minutes or until meat is fork tender (if using a Dutch oven it will probably need about 1 hour). When meat is ready and pressure has been released open according to manufacturer's directions.

Wash and dry eggplant. Add a little oil to a frying pan and fry eggplant on both sides until they begin to turn brown. Let them drain on paper towels.

In a Dutch Oven or other heavy saucepan, layer sauce, eggplant and meat and repeat one more time. Heat on medium-low heat for about 10 minutes. Adjust salt and seasoning for your taste. Add about 2 tablespoons of pomegranate molasses or to taste and cook for another couple minutes. Serve with Persian rice.


  1. Okay, maybe 'cause its dinner time... but my mouth was watering while reading this recipe. Sounds (and looks) deeee-lish! I don't have either molases or palmegranate syrup, is there another substitute (or can it be omitted, since I don't generally love sweet with salty?)

  2. Adorei este post Katia! A receita e o texto sobre seus pais... :-)

  3. Thanks Jazmine for pointing out the molasses as I did not realize before that it could create misunderstanding. I corrected to say Pomegranate molasses which is not sweet as regular molasses. But yes if you don’t have either Pomegranate Syrup or Pomegranate Molasses just substitute for 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice.

  4. Salaam sis. I am new to your blog and just wanted to say this looks unbelievable! I am a new lover of eggplant and I cannot wait to make this dish! Love your photos too!

  5. Welcome! I hope you enjoy the recipes.

  6. the pomegranate molasses, is it sweet at all? this recipe is on my next to cook list. what store did you get the pomegranate molasses from?

  7. Did I just find someone that is as crazy about eggplant as I am? No, pomegranate molasses is not sweet. So if you don’t have it substitute for fresh squeezed lemon juice as I pointed out to Jazmine. I think I bought on Kedzie but they probably have at Sara Meat Market on Milwaukee.

  8. Salaam sis. I made this but I didn't add the molasses. One, we didn't have them and two, my husband doesn't like meat+sweet and I erroneously thought the molasses were sweet.

    Anyway, that said, my family loved it! I have to admit I added some potatoes and carrots to the stew as well to make it stretch further but the preparation, the eggplant, and the spices all remained the same.

    Definitely a keeper!

  9. I am so glad to hear that you and your family enjoyed the recipe! You can add some freshly squeezed lemon juice at the end instead of the molasses. Eid Mubarak sister!

  10. Salaam! I am an eggplant enthusiast as well!! How would one cook this dish on the stove?


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