Khoresh Bademjan (Persian Eggplant Stew, خورش بادمجان)

Khoresh Bademjan is a Persian Eggplant Stew with meltingly tender meat, and perfect served with some rice. You'll also find suggestions for a vegetarian version.
Khoresh Bademjan (Persian Eggplant Stew, خورش بادمجان)
Khoresh Bademjan (Persian Eggplant Stew, خورش بادمجان)
Khoresh Bademjan

Khoresh Bademjan or Bademjoon is a Persian Eggplant Stew with meltingly soft eggplants in a thick and tangy tomato based sauce, with pieces of meat to make it heartier.

Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

What does Khoresh Bademjan mean?

In Farsi (the Persian language):

  • khoresh = stew
  • bademjan – eggplants

So, Eggplant Stew

Yellow split peas are also sometimes added, and the dish is known as Gheymeh Bademjan, where minced meat is used instead of chunks of meat. Our recipe today is with just eggplants and meat.

Khoresh Bademjan is one of my favourite eggplant dishes, and I love nothing better than to have it with a plate of steamed rice. Having said that, the crunch of falling apart tahdeeg is simply incredible with the soft, practically falling apart aubergines.

My kids are all vegetarian, so when I cook this Persian eggplant stew for us, I make a meat version, and one with just the eggplants and chickpeas. So a vegan khoresh bademjan, which is also very traditional in Iran. Recipe coming soon!

Khoresh Bademjan (Persian Eggplant Stew, خورش بادمجان)
That suce is simply amazing!

Tart flavours in Persian Cuisine

As with many Persian khoresh, or stews, Khoresh Bademjan has an underlying tart or sour flavour. This is achieved by adding any of the following:

  • sour grapes (ghooreh), which are young unripe grapes
  • sour grape juice (abghooreh)
  • dried limes (limoo amani, click to read more), or failing all that
  • plain and simple fresh lemon juice

I tend to go with limoo amani, finishing off with a quick squeeze of lemon juice, because I love that touch of bitter that they lend to the stew.

If you have friends growing grapes, just ask them for a handful of the young unripe ones to make your khoresh!

Khoresh Bademjan Recipe

The recipe itself is pretty straightforward, but it takes just a little bit of effort and time, as we salt and then grill the eggplants first. Although these days, many eggplant varieties don’t need salting.

Traditionally, in Khoresh Bademjan, the eggplants are fried. You know eggplants are like sponges when it comes to oil, they soak up far too much my comfort. So the best thing to do is to grill (broil) them or bake them in the oven first. We shall be grilling (broiling) them.

Or here is a cheat’s idea for the eggplants. Use shop bought pre grilled or roasted eggplants. These can be the plain old ones that are frozen, or the ones sold in jars as antipasto.

Like these jars below, the aubergine jar can just be seen in the back right. It doesn’t really interfere with the flavour of your khoresh. In fact, if anything, it deepens it.

Marinated Vegetables
I love using antipasto vegetables for added flavour

What meat for your Khoresh?

Lamb is the preferred red meat in the Middle East. However, you can please yourself and go with what you like. I’m using tiny cubes of lamb here.

If you can get your hands on meat that’s on the bone, even better. Cut it up into bitesize pieces, but add the bone to the khoresh for added flavour.

And, you could even go with meatballs, which in my experience, makes it very attractive to kids!

What kind of eggplants should you use?

That’s completely up to you: large, medium, small, round – it depends on what you like and what you can get. For khoresh bademjan, I use medium eggplants, which slice up to about 5-6 pieces each; perfect for 4 – 6 people.

As mentioned above, these days, eggplants don’t really need to be salted anymore. However, I find that the extra step helps to season them and deepen the flavour.

Just bear in mind that many small eggplant varieties tend to be on the bitter side, so they most certainly need salting for a good 30 minutes.

Other Ingredients

Limoo Amani (Dried Persian Limes)

Click here to read more. Dried limes, whether brown or black are a very popular ingredient throughout the Middle East and have various names, depending on where you are or where the limes are from.

To use them, whether in today’s khoresh bademjan or any other stew, you simply crack them with the back of a knife to release the flavour, and add them to stews as they are. They soften upon cooking and become part of the stew’s filling.

Substitute: lemon juice, sumac, sour grapes, sour grape juice

Liquid Saffron

Click here to read more, learn how to make it, and also for my YouTube video.

When you only soak the saffron in water, you are not utilising everything that this potent ingredient has to offer. You get the aroma, the flavour and the colour but the very substance of the saffron, to me, remains elusive when you leave it whole.

So how do we get to the inner beauty and magic of saffron and how do we make liquid saffron?

Easy, we crush those little guys in a pestle and mortar first, with just a tiny pinch of salt or sugar to aid the grinding, then we soak it in water.

Khoresh Bademjan (Persian Eggplant Stew, خورش بادمجان)
And those eggplant – incredible!

Vegetarian Khoresh Bademjan

Is pretty easy to do. Half the time, when I’m cooking this for clients, I am asked to do one of each dish, meat version, and vegetarian version.

To make a vegetarian khoresh bademjan, just omit the meat, and add yellow split peas instead, which are traditional in this recipe, as mentioned above.

Use about 1 cup of yellow split peas, and follow the recipe below, adding the peas when you are meant to add the meat. Cook the peas for 30 minutes, then add the eggplants and finish up.

Yellow split peas do not need soaking.

That’s it, I hope you enjoy the recipe. If you are a fan of eggplants, you sure will!

Let’s get our aprons on!

More Persian Recipes on LinsFood

And with Nowruz, the Persian New Year coming up on the first day of spring, if you fancy more Persian recipes, check out the Middle Eastern and North African page, for must have recipes. Including Doogh, a traditional yoghurt drink served with meals, that’s also know as Ayran.

If you like the recipe, don’t forget to leave me a comment and that all important, 5-star rating! Merci!

And if you make the recipe, share it on any platform and tag me @azlinbloor, and hashtag it #linsfood

Noushe jan | نوش جان

Lin xx

Khoresh Bademjan (Persian Eggplant Stew, خورش بادمجان)

Khoresh Bademjan (Persian Eggplant Stew, خورش بادمجان)

Khoresh Bademjan is a Persian Eggplant Stew with meltingly tender meat, and perfect served with some rice. You'll also find suggestions for a vegetarian version.
4.91 from 104 votes
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Course: Main Course with Rice
Cuisine: Persian
Keyword: nowruz, persian, stew
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 50 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 241.2kcal
Author: Azlin Bloor

Equipment

  • Knife
  • Chopping board
  • large bowl
  • side plate
  • a can of food to weigh the eggplants down
  • saucepan
  • ladle

Ingredients

The Eggplants

  • 3 eggplants aubergines
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 1 lemon

Everything Else

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 500 g beef or lamb, in bite size pieces
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 1 small clove garlic finely chopped
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 Tbsp concentrated tomato paste
  • 200 g canned chopped tomatoes
  • 250 ml water
  • 1 Tbsp liquid saffron pinch of saffron, ground or crumbled, then soaked in 1 Tbsp hot water
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 limoo amani OR substitute with the juice of 1 lime OR 1 tsp sumac
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • a small amount of chopped parsley optional

Instructions

Let's Prep the Eggplants

  • Get a large bowl and fill it with cool tap water. Add 1 Tbsp of salt in and squeeze the juice of half the lemon.
  • Peel the eggplants. Then slice them into long pieces, about 1cm (just under 1/2 inch) thick. You'll get about 5-6 pieces per eggplant.
  • Place the sliced eggplants in the bowl of water. Place a small saucer on the eggplants and weigh down with a can of food, so all the eggplants are submerged in the salted, lemony water. Leave for 20 minutes. While the eggplants are soaking, let's get the beef going.

Let's start the Cooking

  • Heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil on medium high heat, and sauté the chopped onions for 2 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and turmeric and stir for 20 seconds.
  • Add the beef and stir vigorously, breaking the mince up, as well as coating it with all those onions. Do this for 3 minutes.
  • Add the the tomato paste, chopped tomatoes, water and saffron water in. Stir and bring it to a boil.
  • With the back of a knife, pound the limoo amani (dried lime), so that it breaks up into 2-3 pieces. Scoop all this up and add to the stew. Don’t worry, the lime will soften and be perfectly edible. Once the stew has come to a boil, reduce the heat right down and simmer for 1 hour or until the meat is just cooked. It will still be cooking for another 20 minutes with the eggplants, so don’t overcook it at this stage.

Back to the eggplants

  • While the beef is cooking, let’s attend to the eggplants. Rinse and pat dry the eggplants. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush each eggplant with olive oil and place under the grill (broiler) on high. Grill for 15 minutes, flipping them halfway through. Set aside until the beef is ready.

Finishing cooking the Khoresh

  • When the beef is done, add the eggplants to the stew, bring back to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes, until the eggplants are fully cooked and soft.
  • Check the seasoning, and add more salt if you think it needs it. Be careful when you stir the salt in, don’t break up the super soft eggplants.
  • Add some freshly ground black pepper and top with parsley if you like, and serve with some plain white rice, or some Saffron Rice.

Notes

Khoresh Bademjan or Bademjoon is a Persian Eggplant Stew with meltingly soft eggplants in a thick, tomato based sauce with pieces of meat to make it heartier.

Nutrition

Calories: 241.2kcal | Carbohydrates: 22.1g | Protein: 21.7g | Fat: 9.2g | Saturated Fat: 2.4g | Cholesterol: 52.5mg | Sodium: 1116.6mg | Potassium: 1118mg | Fiber: 9.9g | Sugar: 12.5g | Vitamin A: 15.2IU | Vitamin C: 18.5mg | Calcium: 60.2mg | Iron: 3.1mg

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26 thoughts on “Khoresh Bademjan (Persian Eggplant Stew, خورش بادمجان)”

  1. 5 stars
    Love eggplant based dishes.. be it curries, fritters or the dips.. this one sounds so flavourful.. would love to dig into the vegetarian version with steamed rice.. wonderful share..

  2. 5 stars
    Love eggplant and I am loving this Persian dish of yours with and without meat, able to satisfy both the world. The dish is very tempting and I am sure to enjoy this with some rice or even my daily roti.

  3. 5 stars
    Huge fan of eggplant dishes! The vegetarian and non vegetarian, both versions of this recipe sound so delicious. Another gem of a recipe from the Persian cuisine.

    1. Hi there, it’s towards the bottom of the recipe. All you do is add 1 cup of yellow split peas to replace the meat. I’ve added a table of contents right at the start of the post. So you should be able to see it there, click on it to get the section.

  4. Great recipe, but I’m not seeing where you add the beef or lamb to the stew! Am I blind and just missing it??? I read over the recipe so many times. I went with what I usually do with recipes and just browned the meat before the onions went in. Just want to check of that was correct? Thanks!

    1. Hi Clarissa, you are so right. I recently updated this recipe, and seem to have left the beef out. I brown the beef in step 3, after the garlic and turmeric, so the beef takes on a little of the flavour. But starting with the beef is perfectly fine too.
      Thank you, I’m glad you caught that.

    2. Nicholas Parkes

      5 stars
      I chose this recipe because it didnt look too complicated and i had all the ingredients except the dried limes… thanks for suggesting the substitutes…sumac and lime juice. The resulting stew came out great! It had i think the right bitterness and the aubergines were soft and tender. Make sure you get the seasoning right.. it took more salt that I had imagined I would need. Top recipe!

  5. 5 stars
    This was delicious. I was worried about the eggplants at first, but they were so soft, served it with your easy persian rice. Thank you!

  6. I have life threatening high blood pressure. Too much the salt! Is the salt needed to tenderise the eggplant or can I just submerge it in water… and it’s in a bowl, and you put a saucer and a can no top of it… but you say let it cook? I missed the part where you put it in a pot and cook it! I’m confused! Do you cook it in the bowl, or in a pot? How in the bowl? microwave the bowl? Won’t the can throw off un sparks?

    1. The salt isn’t consumed, it’s only in the water, which is then thrown away. You can skip this step, as I mentioned in the post itself. That’s step no 2.
      Step no 3 says cook the beef, not the eggplant.
      We only cook the eggplants in step no 8, where we rinse and pat dry before placing under the grill/broiler.

  7. Minu Mirzaei

    Thank you, Azlin, we are looking forward to Nowruz. I am so glad you have the recipe for Polo Mahi Sabzi. I love all your Middle Eastern recipes!

  8. Yummy, I can’t wait to try this. My children don’t eat red meat, can I make this with chicken, Azlin?

  9. James Mattison

    Great, I love aubergines, and get excited when I see a new recipe. Pencilled in for the weekend. Cheers!

  10. Farzana Simons

    Yay, thank you! I remember granny making this when I was little. I really appreciate all these Persian recipes you are sharing. Printing this to make tomorrow!

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