I am back! Apologies for being quiet over the last two weeks. My boys and I decided to take a much needed holiday and took a break from everything. It was absolute bliss! I do love escaping every now and again and switching off entirely but I also love coming home, especially to this lovely autumnal weather. It makes me crave massive bowls of comfort food packed with oodles of flavour!
Whilst we were away we ate out in lots of different restaurants. We ate some amazing fresh fish and a variety of really colourful food. One thing we noticed, was that the Island’s signature dishes were offered in most of the eateries we visited. Each one of them offering a slight variation in the ingredients, the way it was prepared & then presented. It got me thinking about regional food in general.
There must be 1000’s of different versions of how to make a Chicken Korma, Fish & Chips, Pad Thai, Jambalaya, and the list goes on. The same is similar for Persian food. Within my own immediate family we all make Ghormeh Sabzi, Salad Olivieh and Sholerzard differently. They all are identifiable of the actual dish with the core ingredients being similar however we all have different palates, have adapted to our own tastes over the years and of course we all think our own version is the best! Mine is actually the best for any of my family reading this 🙂 (just thought I would set the record straight ;P ;P ).
The same is true to most Persian dishes, from cakes to stews and the way we cook rice. There is one common element to every dish across every Persian household though, we all love the food and the process of cooking it for our friends and family.
Here is my own version of Khorest Bademjune. This was my ultimate favourite as a child and always felt like such a treat. It still is a firm favourite in my own family now and I hope it remains that way for generations to come.
From my table to yours.
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My Little Persian Aubergine Stew – Khorest Bademjune
2 Large Aubergines
2 Lamb shanks or 500gm of stewing lamb
2 large white onions sliced
Juice of 1 lemon
4 garlic cloves – sliced
2 heaped tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp salt
Pepper to taste
400gm tomato passatta
1/2 tube tomato puree
2 cups of hot water
1 cup of sour grapes
1 tin of chickpeas
1/2 tsp saffron threads pounded with sugar and dissolved in 1 tbsp of rose water
Slice the aubergines and fry them off in a shallow pan until cooked through. Place to one side.
In a heavy bottomed pan add a good glug of olive oil and fry off the onions until clear and softened. Add the meat and brown off then add the garlic and cook for 3 minutes.
Add the lemon juice and let it sizzle before adding the turmeric, tomato puree, salt and pepper. Fry off until the bitter smell disappears.
Add the pasatta and water and stir. Lastly add the cinnamon and place a lid on and cook for around two hours on a low heat.
15 minutes before serving add the aubergines and decorate with sliced grapes.
Serve with polo ba tadig and fresh lavash! Nooshe jaan!