Afghan Borani Banjan

I love these meaty aubergine slices topped with a warmly-spiced pepper and tomato sauce, served with garlicky yoghurt. Every bite just belts out flavour! And it smells so wonderfully festive as it cooks.⁣

Though the traditional version requires deep frying the aubergines, I pore over this contemporary adaptation with undimmed enthusiasm. In fact, my appreciation is all the greater; it’s vibrant and true to the flavours and yet so utterly easy to execute. ⁣

What you will need – (for 4 servings)

For baked aubergines:

  • Aubergines⁣ – 2 large (approx 350-400 g each)
  • Olive oil⁣ – 1/4 cup
  • Garlic cloves ⁣- 7-8, finely chopped
  • Paprika⁣ – 1 teaspoon
  • Cumin⁣ – 2 teaspoon
  • Tomato sauce⁣ – 1 cup
  • Red bell pepper ⁣- 1 medium (approx 150-180 g), finely chopped
  • Chilli flakes⁣ – 1 teaspoon
  • Salt and Pepper⁣

For yogurt sauce:

  • Yogurt – 150 g
  • Fresh Dill – 2 tablespoon, finely chopped
  • Mint leaves – 8-10, finely chopped
  • Garlic clove – 1-2, grated
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

For Garnish (optional) :

  • A handful of pomegranate seeds and a tablespoon of pomegranate molasses
Method –

✣ First slice the aubergines into discs, roughly 2 cm thick. Generously sprinkle salt on both sides and sit them on a rack or in a colander. Allow them to sweat for at least 40 mins to an hour. They might begin to brown a little bit, that’s okay.

✣ Then gently rinse them under water and pat each piece dry. ⁣Ensure you dry them well or there will be too much water once you begin to bake them.

✣ Preheat oven to 200°C.

✣ Meanwhile, heat a pan on medium flame, add oil, garlic, paprika and cumin. Once the spices bloom, add tomato sauce, peppers, chilli flakes, salt and chopped bell pepper. Lower the heat and cook for 10 mins. ⁣

✣ In a baking tray, layer the sauce and the eggplant slices like you would a lasagna. Bake covered for 30-35 mins or till the aubergines are cooked through. ⁣

✣ To make the sauce, add yogurt to a mixing bowl and whisk gently for 1 min. Now add grated garlic clove, finely chopped dill and mint. Season with salt and pepper and stir to combine. ⁣

✣ Drizzle all over baked aubergines and enjoy.

Storage notes –

Best eaten the same day.

If you make this recipe, you know the drill: Let me know!

Take a picture, tag @the_slow_kitchen on Instagram. Use #theslowkitchen on your posts!

Aubergines stuffed with Lentils

This creation is inspired by the classic stuffed aubergine dish from the Ottoman cuisine – Imam Baylidi. The aubergines are simmered in olive oil and though it is quite a delightful dish, I find it rather oily. For this recipe, I cook the aubergines in a skillet first and then roast in the oven.

What you will need – (for 2 massive servings)
  1. Aubergines – 2 large, halved lengthwise
  2. Cooked masoor (red) lentils – 1 cup
  3. Onion – 1 medium, finely chopped
  4. Tomatoes – 4 large, puréed
  5. Garlic – 1 large clove, finely chopped
  6. Harissa paste – 1-1.5 tablespoons (can sub with Gochujang paste)
  7. Rosemary – 1 sprig
  8. Broth – 3/4th cup
  9. Olive oil – 2 + 2 tablespoons
  10. Salt and pepper to taste
  11. Grated parmesan or cheddar (optional) – 1/4th cup

For garnish –
Fresh coriander and toasted sesame seeds

Method –
  • Slit aubergines lengthwise and score in a criss-cross. Drizzle with salt and 2 tablespoons olive oil.
  • Heat a cast iron skillet on medium flame and place the aubergines slit-side down.
    Cook till the skin begins to wrinkle (about 7 mins).
  • Take the aubergines out of the pan and scoop out a little flesh from the centre to create a cavity. Set aside. (You only want to scoop out the tender bits in the centre. There should be enough flesh remaining on all sides.)
  • In the meantime, preheat oven to 180°C.
  • In the same pan add remaining oil, garlic, chopped onions and rosemary. Sauté on medium heat till the onions become translucent.
  • Add tomato purée, salt and pepper. Cook for 4-5 mins.
  • Now add cooked lentils, scooped aubergine flesh and harissa. Stir to combine.
  • Add broth to the pan, bring to a boil and simmer till thickened.
  • Add this mix into the aubergines and roast at 180°C for 30 mins or until the aubergine is completely cooked.
  • Garnish with grated cheese and fresh herbs. Serve immediately.

Serve as is or alongside a vibrant salad or rice or cauliflower rice or quinoa.

Storage notes –

The stuffing can be stored for upto 3 days. Advisable to cook the eggplants when you’re ready to eat.

If you make this recipe, you know the drill: Let me know!

Take a picture, tag @the_slow_kitchen on Instagram and use #theslowkitchen on your posts!