Kashk-e Bademjan - Persian Eggplant & Whey Dip


Today is my first blogoversary! Food blogging has been a journey as well as a healing process for me while I've been chopping onions, frying eggplants, pickling garlic, steaming rice and grounding threads of saffron and the whole lot of other things that cooking entails. I had started this blog exactly a year ago as a tribute to my late mother who had passed away six months prior due to an illness.

This was my  tribute to her amazing culinary capabilities, her knowledge and the understanding of all the ingredients used in Persian cooking. She loved serving up delicious food with a  welcoming attitude and the constant desire to feed and include everyone. Little did I know that through it all I would become a more passionate and enthusiastic foodie myself. I have grown to appreciate food more than ever. It is no longer about preparing meals for my loving family but becoming curious about food and nutrition and exploring other ethnic cuisines from around the world. From the very young age of eight or nine when my mother taught me how to saute onions, an essential in Iranian cooking, my love affair with food began. My mother loved talking about food as much as she enjoyed preparing and eating it. She'd tell you the benefits of every ingredient as she would feed you. She was not shy about giving strangers tips on how to cure their ailments by using herbs and spices. We'd grown up hearing stories about how she had helped cure our  next door neighbor's liver problems by sending over some sumac(somagh) to take as a medicine. Or, telling someone else that they should drink a glass of warm yogurt drink (doogh-e garm) before going to bed to help them with their insomnia!

The first few months of blogging was more about documenting what I had learned and remembered. I was frantically posting without enjoying it much. It was more of a chore I felt had to be done; that it would somehow make my mom happy to know that her legacy would be passed on. To my astonishment, I have grown to enjoy and love to write about my recipes, read other amazing food blogs and marvel at their food photography.What had started as a homage  to my beloved mom has healed me through my writing about the kinds of food she'd serve us ever so graciously and lovingly.
 

Kashke-e Bademjan is the quintessential Persian appetizer. It may be not be considered a main dish, however I feel once you serve kashk-e bademjan you don't need much of any thing else on the table. Except, some warm lavash (flat bread), a fork and a tall glass of cool water. If you haven't tasted it yet, try it. You'll be surprised how tasty this combination of eggplants, whey (kashk), caramelized onion and garlic can be. So simple and yet so tasty. This is also a perfect dish for those that say Persian cooking is too time consuming.
Dried Whey (Kashk)
Kashk-e Bademjan
Ingredients:
Serves 4

2 large eggplants
2 large onions, peeled, finely sliced
7 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
2 tablespoons dried mint
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon liquid saffron
Salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup oil, use olive oil for this dish
1 cup liquid kashk (whey), which is a byproduct of curdled milk (buttermilk), can be found in Iranian or Middle Eastern grocery stores.
 
Method:
  1. With a knife make some cuts in the eggplants to let the steam out  before putting them in the oven. 
  2.  Place the eggplants in a 350 degrees Fahrenheit preheated oven. Cook for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. 
  3. Then remove the skin, squeeze out the bitterness, and chop up the eggplants into small pieces.
  4. In a skillet heat oil and saute onions until they become golden brown, add turmeric and stir. Add the garlic and mint, saute for an additional 5 minutes. Set some of it aside for garnish.
  5. To the skillet add the eggplants, saffron, salt, and pepper. Cook for 15 minutes. 
  6. Pour the kashk ( liquid whey ) over the eggplants and mix well. Keep the skillet on low heat for about 2-3 minutes for the flavors to come together and for the mixture to blend well. 
  7. Adjust the seasoning and serve on a platter, pour extra kashk on the dish if you prefer. 
  8. Garnish with fried garlic, onion, and mint mixture that you had set aside. 
Serve with warm bread.

Enjoy!

24 comments:

  1. Happy Happy Anniversary!! This is a very very beautiful post. Many more years and lovely recipes to your blog.

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  2. Soma, thank you so very much.

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  3. Azita, Happy Anniversary. And what a loving tribute to your mother. she must have been a phenomenal mother in every way. i am sorry you lost her. we all have a part of our mothers in us, forever. i love this dish, i have kashk lying in my fridge but have been lazy about making this- your beautiful photo is a great inspiration for me!

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  4. Happy anniversary to your wonderful blog.

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  5. Shayma, thanks a lot, I appreciate it. I'd love to see your photos of this dish.

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  6. Maninas, thank you very much, you are so kind.

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  7. Thanks for passing from my blog giving me the opportunity to find out about you as well. I look forward to learning more about Persian cuisine with which I am not familiar with. Lovely tribute to your mother and hope you will record all the knowledge she has passed on to you. During the first year of my blogging I did the same thing. I recreated all those lovely recipes my mother used to make and which some of those recipes were a challenge as I didn't even dream I could cook them. At the same time I was curious to learn and taste recipes from around the world I knew nothing about.

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  8. Happy Anniversary Azita jan! May your dear mother rest in peace and what a wonderful homage you have dedicated to her. :)

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  9. My Persian Kitchen,

    Thank you, that's very kind of you.

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  10. I loved reading this post and I can relate as well; I started my blog in loving memory of my grandmother who cooked for all of us and did not get enough recognition or gratitude while alive.
    A Persian friend of my neighbor's brought this dish one night and I pretty much ate the whole thing myself! It is sooo good!!

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  11. tasteofbeirut- Thank you so very much, that's very kind of you.

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  12. Hi! thank you for the recipe. I will visit some persian store to buy kashk. Though I read on some blogs that yogurt can be used as substitue.

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  13. yes, yogurt is a good substitute.

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  14. Dear Azita,

    Tomorrow my parents are coming to visit me in Montreal and I want to surprise them with that I learned on your blog. Now I was wondering: can I make the kashk-e-bademjan today and serve it tomorrow? What should I do so the taste would not suffer?

    Same question actually for shevid-baghali polow. Can I make it today? And if I do it, how should I heat it up? I usually do not prefer to use the microwave.

    Thank you so much

    Nazanin

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  15. Nazanin Jan, I just sent you an email. In my opinion most Iranian meals taste better the next day. You can reheat rice in the oven or on the stove on medium-low heat.

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  16. Azita

    This is my favorite dish!! I just bought powdered kashk and was looking for recipes and found yours. Can you please let me know if it is possible to use the powdered kashk instead of liquid, and if so, how much should I use?

    Thank you!
    Sam

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  17. Sam, mix 1/2 cup of dry powder with 1 cup of hot water...adding the water gradually and mixing it till it reaches the desired consistency. Powdered kashk needs to be reconstituted to liquid for kask-e bademjan and is not used by itself. Leftover liquid kashk needs to be refrigerated. I store mine in the freezer.

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  18. Hi Azita jan,

    Can you explain what you mean by "squeezing out the bitterness" from the eggplant?

    Merci!

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  19. Hi anonymous jan, what I mean by "squeezing out the bitterness" from the eggplant is to simply get rid of the bitterness. Some of the large eggplants have a bitterness to them and by salting them prior to cooking you're able to get rid of the excess moisture and bitterness. Another method is to soak them in salted water for an hour or so. When I bake or broil them in the oven after removing the skin with a back of a large spoon I would gently press them down in a fine mesh strainer to get the bitter liquid out.

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  20. Azita, I can't tell you how happy I am to see such a well thought out Blog such as this one. As an Iraqi we share most of our dishes with our good neighbours, with some very minor differences. This one stands out for me - because it's not on our menus (I wonder if it's because I'm not familiar with kashk???) it's absolutely delicious, and I've always wanted to know how to make it!

    Please please please keep this blog open and updated! Perhaps one day I can publish the Iraqi/Arab equivalent and my wife work on the Indonesian, certainly gives us inspiration! :)

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  21. Hi Azita,

    I just discovered your blog last week and have enjoyed going through your recipes.
    When i go out to eat in a restaurant and i like a dish ,i like to analyse the
    ingredients and then look for the recipe online and see how close i am to the original.
    The other day i ate at Persepolis in NY City and loved the dip they call "BABA".
    I believe it is this recipe that you have posted for Kashk-e Bademjan but with the addition of walnuts and pomegranate molasses as per what they listed.
    Can you please post the recipe for that.
    Thanks,
    Vanita.

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  22. hi. i couldn't find kashk in jar and a friend of mine just got me some dried kashk. how to i rehydrate them? what is the proportion. thanks! i'll attempt to make kashk-e bademjan. i feel in love with it and cant get it off my mind! lol. wish me luck!

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    Replies
    1. Haidee, place 1/3 cup of dried kashk in a small bowl, pour in just enough water to cover and let soak until softened.
      Best wishes,
      Azita

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  23. Dear Azita, tonight, for the first time ever, I am making kashke bademjan by following your recipe. Thank you for this lovely blog; it is easy to follow and the smell of naana dagh made me feel more at home. What an amazing tribute to your mother. Afsaneh

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