This is a refreshing side dish inspired by both India and Persia. In the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh (UP), a version of this is served with steaming hot Pulao Rice. In Afghanistan the recipe includes tomatoes and is so delicious with some fresh naan or roti’s. Indian and Persian cuisine has many similarities and it’s no wonder I am a fan of both 🙂 Apparently in Persia the star in any type of borani dish is always a vegetable of one type or another — anything from aubergine/eggplant, courgette/zucchini, mushroom, pumpkin to beets — that is either cooked, steamed sautéed and is then combined with a yogurt dressing.
My version is great with rice or bread and another vegetable dish and for me this is like a South Indian “Pachadi”. The photos on this page show the Baingan Borani served with South Indian Ven Pongal (Kichdi) and Sambar. The spicy Sambar pairs nicely with the cool Baingan Borani and the nutritious rice and it’s nice how these different dishes of India go so well together. My family members in both North and South India I hope will be proud 🙂
If you have time, this dish is really special with some caramelised onions as a garnish, but I have only used coriander leaves as a garnish here. You can use both the big aubergine/eggplant or the smaller baby ones. The photos here are shown with the baby aubergine I bought from a local supermarket actually and I didn’t have to even venture out to the Indian grocery shop further afield. Amazing how well stocked supermarkets can be, but do see if your local farm shop stocks them first as they will fresher and taste heaps better!
What you need:
- 1 large aubergine/eggplant (about 500g) or about 8 small ones.
- 2 tablespoons coriander powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons turmeric
- 2 small cloves garlic, peeled and mashed
- 1 – 2 cups of plain, natural yoghurt (depends how much yoghurt you prefer)
- Salt, to taste
- Approx ¾ Cup of vegetable oil (you may need more or less depending on how much your aubergine need to cook)
How to make it:
1. Wash and slice the eggplant into 1cm thick rounds. In a small bowl combine the coriander powder, turmeric, mashed garlic , approx 1/2 teaspoon of salt with a little water to form a thick paste.
2. In another bowl, whisk the yoghurt then add ¼ teaspoon of salt (or more if you prefer), and stir. Keep refrigerated while you are preparing the rest of the dish.
3. Steam the aubergine until they are half cooked. I find this helps to use less oil for the next step and I usually zap them in the microwave for about 2 minutes.
4. Heat half of the oil and shallow fry the eggplant slices in a heavy bottomed pan on medium heat.
MKA TIP: I try to dab a little oil on the raw aubergine slices before I put them into the pan. This ensures there are no areas of the aubergine that remain dry and not cooked completely.
5. Fry the aubergine on both sides till nicely browned and cooked through. If you are keen not to use ANY fat, then you could even grill the eggplant. Sprinkle the slices with a little salt and arrange them in a single layer in a shallow dish or plate
6. Fry the coriander seed paste in a tablespoon of oil for 2 minutes, till the garlic is properly fried. KEEP AN EYE ON THE GARLIC as you don’t want it to burn and taste bitter! The paste will become dry at which point you need add about 1 – 2 tablespoons of water, stir, and then take off the heat.
7. Just before serving, spoon the coriander mix over the aubergine slices, and spread it to cover them properly. Now cover the slices with the yoghurt. Garnish with some chopped coriander leaves or caramelised onions (if you are using) and serve at room temperature.