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Eggplant and Kashk Dip

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[pullquote]Summary: Eggplants and Kashk or Kashk Bademjan is a very popular dip in Persian cuisine.[/pullquote]

Eggplant and Kashk dip or Kashk e Bademjan is a famous appetizer in Persian cuisine. Most of this dish’s deliciousness comes from kashk, a dairy product made from drained yogurt or drained sour milk. Kashk can be made in variety of forms, including rolled into balls, sliced into strips, and formed into chunks.   

If there is no way to obtain kashk, you can use plain Greek yogurt or sour cream.

Here, I show you step by step of this very delicious food. Noosh Jan!

Prep time: 10 min.

Cooking time: 1 hr

Ready in: 1 hr 10 min 

Level: easy Serves: 6-8 as an appetizer or side dish

Persian Eggplant Dip (Kashk-e Badenjān)

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2 medium eggplants, washed
1 large yellow onion, peeled & diced
2 tablespoons dried mint, crushed
1 clove garlic, peeled & crushed
1 teaspoon of turmeric
4-6 tablespoons Kashk (the closest substitute is sour cream) 3 tablespoons canola oil
1⁄2 teaspoon black pepper, season with salt to taste if needed 1⁄2 cup chicken stock or water (optional)
1/3 cup crushed walnut for garnish (optional)

Directions:

1. Preheat the grill to 400 degrees. Wash and dry the eggplants. Then using a fork, poke them in several spots. Wrap them in generous layers of foil. This will help to avoid excreted liquid dripping into the grill. Secure the ends. Then place them on the grill rack. Close the lid and let them cook for 35-40 minutes or until tender.

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2. While the eggplants are steam-grilling, sauté the chopped onions in canola oil over high heat until turning soft, for about 3-4 minutes. Then add the dried mint and quickly stir. Lower the heat.

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3. Add the garlic and turmeric and sauté over lowered heat. Remember to keep the heat lowered while sautéing garlic since overheating will burn garlic quickly and will leave you with an unpleasant bitter taste.

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4. Using a thong, check the eggplants for their doneness. Turn off the grill (in case you are using a gas grill like mine), and let the eggplant bundles cool off in their foil blankets for few minutes. This way you will not burn your fingers and the eggplant skin will come off more easily.

5. Remove the foils and drain the gathered liquid. Scoop out the pulp gently, leaving the seeds out as you go. I don’t mind eggplant seeds in my dip here and there, but some eggplant seeds tend to have strong bitter taste that will not go well with the rest of the dish. Therefore, I mainly avoid the clustered seeds.

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6. Turn up the heat to medium and add the pulp to the onion mixture. Then add Kashk. Stir frequently. Since Kashk content is high in sodium, there might not be a need to season with salt. But if you are using sour cream instead, you may need to be generous with salt. Like many other dips, it tends to be a salty-spicy one. Season it with pepper and salt if needed.

“ Some types of eggplants tend to have high water content, like the ones I used. After adding them to the pot, there was still enough liquid left to complete the cooking process. However, if you find your eggplants drained and dry after the grilling step, you may add 1⁄2 cup of chicken stock or even water to make sure the dish is completely cooked. To gain the dip consistency, allow the liquid to evaporate completely. ”

7. Transfer the dip into a desired plate and garnish with crushed walnuts. The garnish will add a nutty crunch to the dip. Serve hot with pita bites or any toasted flat breads. Noosh-e jān!

 

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