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Passport & Plate - Khoresht Bademjan with Tahdig

Brazil | Friday, 14 March 2014 | 5 photos

For the khoresht bademjan:

400g of meat (beef or lamb), cubed
4 medium size eggplants, peeled
2 tomatoes
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3 tablespoons of olive oil for
2 bay leaves
Water, 3-4 cups
Salt and pepper

For the tahdig:

3-4 medium size potatoes
2 tps of butter
1 cup of rice
2 cups of cold water
salt to taste


How to prepare this recipe
For the khoresht bademjan:

Season the meat with salt and pepper. Pour the oil into a large saucepan over a high heat and chuck in the beef. Brown the meat well on all sides before removing to a plate for a moment. Throw the onion and garlic into the same pan. Wait until the onion gets soft and add the eggplant.
Add the meat, bay leaves and pour enough water to cover everything. Cover the pan and set the heat low. Cook for 30 min or until the water is reduced to half. Then grate the tomatoes in, cover and let it cook for more 15min or until the sauce is thick.

For the tahdig:
Peel the potatoes and slice it about 1cm thick. In a non stick pan add the butter and let it melt over a low heat. Add the potatoes in only one level and fry both sides. Pour the rice and gently add the water with salt. Do not stir. Let it boil for 20 min or until the rice has soften. After turning of the heat you can flip it over a plate so show of the golden potatoes.


The story behind this recipe
What can be more exciting than a feast to praise food? The biggest apartment I’ve ever seen, with a dining table that would impress kings and queens. The whole family, which in persian means around 40 people. This was the scenario, and that is where my story with this plate begins.
Almost four years ago, with only two Indian muslin dresses in my backpack I arrived in Tehran: the hottest place I’ve been. It was high summer; it was the second day of Ramadan; and I was a foreigner girl arriving on a Shia country and carrying 50 pages of farsi sentences written by one of my professors back in Brazil.
The language was an issue for sure, and to explore the city by myself was a problem too. So many years of political reclusion made Iran an unprepared country for tourism. My first thought was “let’s go for the food”, but that was the biggest problem. We were in Ramadan, the muslin month of fasting.
After almost a month of fruits and bread (don’t get me wrong, it was just too hot to eat anything else) I got the chance to eat homemade typical Iranian food.
Breaking the fast on the last Friday of Ramadan is very special in Iran, and that was the day I meet Milad’s family (my first very Iranian friend). And there was food, food enough to serve a feast as I said. And it was good! So many different plates: lots of fruits, lamb, meat, soups and rice. I honestly never saw so many ways to prepare rice. And there was khoresht bademjan. This eggplant stew was so good that forced me to eat it three times. Of course my friend and his family had to mock me about my fascination for it. At least I earned the right to ask the recipe and that is the recipe I still try to replicate, Milad’s mom khoresht bademjan. Back in home I like to make it with tahdig, the rice with potatoes, just because is the most beautiful way to serve rice in my opinion. But this recipe has a whole other story. What happens is that those recipes remind me so much of those hot days in Tehran.

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