Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Eggplant with Traditional Whey (Kashk-e Bademjan)

3 medium eggplants
2 egg whites, beaten until foamy
¼ cup oil or more as needed
3 large onions, peeled and thinly sliced
5 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed or minced
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 tablespoons dried mint leaves
¼ cup water
2½ teaspoons salt or to taste
¼ teaspoon pepper

5 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed or minced
1 tablespoon oil
1 tablespoon dried mint leaves, crumbled
½ cup liquid whey (kashk), mixed with ¼ cup water
Note: Available in Persian or Middle Eastern delicatessens. See photo below.
¼ cup chopped walnuts, optional
¼ teaspoon ground saffron, dissolved in 1 tablespoon hot water

1. Peel the eggplants and cut each into four lengthwise slices. Place in a large bowl of water with 2 tablespoons salt and let them soak for 20 minutes. Soaking is supposed to remove the bitterness. Remove and pat them dry with clean dish towels.
2. Brush one side of the eggplants with the foamy egg whites. The egg whites keep the eggplant from absorbing too much oil. Fry the foamy side down in 2 tablespoons of oil until the eggplant is brown. Paint the top side with egg whites before flipping it over to brown the other side. Use medium heat. You will probably need to do this in multiple batches; add more oil as needed.
3. Brown the onions and garlic in 2 tablespoons oil. Add the turmeric and mint flakes and set aside. Add salt to taste.
4. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
5. Alternate layers of the eggplant with layers of the onion and garlic mixture in a rectangular ovenproof dish. Sprinkle each layer of eggplant with salt and pepper. You may have two layers of each. Pour ¼ cup water over it all and bake it covered in the oven for 20 minutes or until tender. You can make it ahead up to this point; refrigerate until needed.
6. For the garnish: Just before serving, lightly brown the garlic in oil. Remove the skillet from the heat and add the mint, whey, walnuts and saffron water. Stir until combined. Pour over the eggplant and bake, covered, for 15 minutes at 300ºF or until heated all the way through.
Note: If you’ve made the dish ahead, return the dish to room temperature, heat gently at 325ºF. for 30 minutes and then add the garnish as above.
7. Serve as part of a Persian dinner with Persian flatbread.

Serves 4-6
Adapted from Najmieh Batmanglij’s New Food of Life

 Liquid whey or Kashk

No comments: