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!

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