Khoresh Bademjan is a well-known, popular and respected dish that finds itself served frequently and proudly on a Persian table. Eggplant, otherwise known as the potato of Iran, is used in a variety of stews, Kuku (egg-based dishes), and layered rice dishes.
The very special and unique ingredient in this dish is “Ghooreh”, which showcases Iranians’ love of all things sour. Ghooreh is the Farsi name for unripe sour grapes. Once harvested, they are then juiced, frozen, or dried into a powder. These elements are used anywhere acidity is called for.
This Khoresh is made with chicken, or if you prefer with beef, lamb. The meat can also be completely eliminated while the tomatoes are increased to make Khoresh Gojeh Bademjan.
Khoresht-e Bademjan ba Morgh
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4-6 chicken pieces, with bones and skin on
- 1 large onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon turmeric, ground
- 2 medium tomatoes, diced
- 5 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 1/2 cups water, adjust as needed
- 2 teaspoons salt, divided, adjust as needed
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper, ground
- 6 tablespoons verjuice (unripe sour grape juice), or fresh lemon juice, adjust to your taste
- 4 tablespoons unripe sour grapes (Ghooreh), Fresh or frozen
- 3 medium Asian eggplants or 2 Italian, peeled and quartered lengthwise
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- In a large dutch oven, saute the chicken pieces with 2 tablespoons of oil for 5 minutes on high heat, turning the chicken once. Remove from the pan and set aside.
- Add the onions to the dutch oven and saute over medium heat for about 15 minutes or until lightly golden.
- Add garlic and turmeric and saute for 2 additional minutes.
- Add the tomato paste and continue to saute for 2 minutes.
- Return the chicken, add tomatoes and water, cover and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce heat and simmer on low heat for 30 minutes.
- While the chicken cooks, toss the peeled and quartered eggplants with 1 teaspoon of salt.
- In a large frying pan, saute the eggplants over medium-low heat with oil to lightly brown the eggplants on all sides. About 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside.
- After the chicken has been cooking for 30 minutes, add salt, pepper, verjuice, and Ghooreh. Stir and continue to cook for 30 minutes.
- Arrange the partially cooked eggplants on top of the stew and gently press them down to submerge them into the stew.
- Cover and cook over low heat for another 30 minutes. Chicken should be tender at this stage.
- Remove from heat, adjust for seasoning and allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving.
- Gently transfer the stew into a serving dish without disturbing the eggplants too much, so that they maintain their integrity.
- Serve the stew with Persian saffron basmati rice.