As soon as I came across this recipe for Afghan-style aubergine and yoghurt in a recent edition of Delicious magazine, I knew I had to make it. I adore aubergine dishes and the Middle Eastern flavours in this one simply called out to me.
The recipe comes from Sally Butcher, a British-born cook who married into an Iranian family, and it is taken from Veggiestan: a Vegetable Lover’s Tour of the Middle East. I don’t own this book yet but I plan to get hold of a copy very soon.
It’s an incredible dish. The herbs and spices, lemon, garlic and chilli give it a beautifully fragrant zinginess, which works so well with the creaminess of the Greek yoghurt and the soft, sumptuous texture of the smoky aubergine.
I did worry it might be a little grown up for the children and so I made a version without the chilli for them. Miss Bangers, the four-year-old, did have to be persuaded a little to get through it. But Miss Mash, the seven-year-old, wolfed it down happily.
Afghan-style aubergine and yoghurt (burani bonjon)
3 large aubergines
1 onion, peeled and chopped
4 green chillies, chopped (optional)
1 tsp ground turmeric
400g tin chopped tomatoes
1 small bunch of fresh coriander, roughly chopped
For the yoghurt
450ml Greek yoghurt
2 tbsp lemon juice
6 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
handful of fresh mint, chopped, plus extra sprigs for the garnish
salt and pepper
Cut the aubergine into half centimetre slices and sprinkle salt on both sides. Leave for half an hour, then rinse in cold water and dry with kitchen towel.
Heat a little oil in a large frying pan and saute the onion and chillies (if using) until soft. Remove and keep to one side.
Add some more oil to the pan and fry the aubergine in batches until slightly browned on each side. Sprinkle the aubergine with a little turmeric and return the slices to the pan with the chopped tomato, coriander, onion and chillies. Pour in enough water to just cover the ingredients, cover with a lid, turn down the heat and simmer gently for about half an hour. Add a little more liquid if it starts to look too dry.
While this is cooking, prepare the yoghurt. Simply mix the yoghurt and lemon juice in a bowl, stir in the crushed garlic and mint, and season to taste. Place in the fridge.
When the aubergine mixture is ready, spread half the yoghurt across a large serving plate, and then place half the aubergine on top. Cover with more yoghurt, the remaining aubergine and finishing with a last dollop of yoghurt and a sprig or two of mint.
Serve straight away with warm pitta or flatbread. Heavenly.
As this dish features lots of tasty mint and coriander, I’m entering it into October’s Herbs on Saturday blog challenge hosted by Karen at Lavender & Lovage. If you enjoy cooking with herbs, do head over there and take a look at the other recipes submitted as you’re sure to find plenty of new inspiration.