One of my favorite cuisines is Persian food. Not terribly mainstream, but some of my best childhood friends are Persian and introduced me to this fabulous world of flavor! My surprise sweet 16 party even consisted of beef and chicken kabob, roasted tomatoes, and rice. Needless to say, it’s a bit harder to pick up Persian food than Italian or Mexican food, so I had to do some research and dedicate myself to learning how to make new dishes.
Kashkeh Bademjan is a roasted eggplant dip. Similar to Baba Ganoush, this dip is great for eating with toasted flatbread, sliced veggies, or pita chips. What makes Kashkeh Bademjan extra special is mint. It brings a lightness to the dish and features the creamy eggplant very nicely. This stuff is so good, sometimes I just end up eating spoonfuls plain!
Now for the more unfamiliar part. Kashk is the element that makes this dish bonkers creamy. It’s similar to whey or sour cream, and it’s addition to the eggplant imparts a tartness as well as some yummy fat. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t like buying ingredients I won’t use very often and letting them take up valuable fridge real estate. Even when I make Kashkeh Bademjan with Persian friends, we’ve used the more accessible and versatile greek yogurt or sour cream. Don’t worry if you can’t find it at your local international food store. I might have walked by it in the dairy case, but my Farsi is quite rusty so I wouldn’t even have known! Yet another language to attempt to learn.
The most efficient way to make the eggplant dip is to roast the eggplant in the oven. I have pan fried the slices before, but the sheer number of batches and spattering olive oil encouraged me to find a faster and cleaner method. I prefer baking the oiled and seasoned slices on unlined sheet trays to maximize the golden crispy fond, but you can also cube the eggplant as well. Maximizing the surface area will cut down on your cook time.
After peeling the skin off, don’t forget to salt and soak your eggplant slices to draw out moisture and help with the creamy texture. You don’t have to do this step, but it helps with the sheer amount of oil the eggplant will soak up. These guys are like sponges. In this recipe, it might not be a necessary since it has a good deal of olive oil anyways. Conversely, if you want to grill the eggplant for a smokey flavor, keep the skin on so the flesh stays in one piece. Simply peel the charred skin off when done grilling. Owen (the BF) doesn’t like smoked foods, so I tend to make it in the oven.
Of course, I have to add in tons of garlic and onions. I’m of the belief you can’t ever have too much of these two aromatics. By caramelizing the onions and garlic, we mellow out their sharpness into a sweet richness. I used a giant Costco size onion and 8 fat garlic cloves. You, by no means, are obligated to use so much, but I highly recommend it. I seriously can never get enough onions and garlic. I pretty much ignore all recipes that call for 1/2 an onion or 1 clove of garlic. So far, so good. Don’t forget to also fry the mint in olive oil. It looks like too much mint to start with, but it wilts down.
Kashkeh Bademjan is so easy to make. Simply mash up all the components in a food processor, blender or with a potato masher. I have an immersion blender that I love to use. It helps cut down on dishes as you can blend right in the bowl you’re already using. It’s also extremely fun.
I like to spoon and swirl in the yogurt when I serve the Kashkeh Bademjan because some people prefer varying levels of tartness in their dip. Serve with bread, slices vegetables or chips. My favorite dip vehicles are toasted barbari (Persian flatbread) and cucumber medallions.
The eggplant dip will keep for a week in a tightly sealed container. It doesn’t ever last that long for me though! I like to use it as a spread for sandwiches and wraps as well. And like I said, it’s also delicious for eating with just your spoon!