Persian Eggplant Dip – Kashke Bademjan is my first choice when it comes to cooking an easy Persian dish or side dish for a lot of people. Especially when they are vegetarian, gluten-free or do not like rice-based meals.
Kashke Bademjan is a combination of two main ingredients; Kashk, a type of dairy product with a sour taste, and Bademjan meaning eggplant in Persian. Most of the ingredients for this side dish are available in stores around the world, but you may need to check the Middle Eastern or Iranian grocery stores to get Kashk. Even if you don’t have access to Kashk, you can still make this dip by using different substitutes for Kashk.
Kashke Bademjan ingredients: (for 2 people)
- 2 large eggplants
- 2 large onions
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 2 tablespoons of dried mint leaves
- 2 tablespoons of chopped walnuts
- 4 tablespoons Kashk, or (vegan) Greek yogurt
- Salt, pepper, and turmeric
- Olive oil or oil
What is Kashk? How can I prepare it?
Kashk is a fermented product made of milk or yogurt and it adds a similar taste like sour cream or Greek yogurt to this eggplant dip. You can find Kashk in either dried or liquid forms in Middle Eastern or Persian grocery stores. Dried Kashk can have different shapes, and you can keep it out of the fridge for a few months. Before adding it to your meal, you need to first dissolve it in boiling water to have a thick whitish liquid. You can also buy liquid Kaskh from the Middle Eastern stores, and in this case, you may also need to add some hot water to have a more liquified combination. According to your taste, you can add as much Kashk as you want to your Kashke Bademjan.
In case you couldn’t find Kashk, you can also add Greek yogurt or sour cream to this dip. Although the taste and smell would not exactly be the same, these two are among the closest substitution for Kashk. It is also possible to add vegan Greek yogurt to your eggplant dip if you want to have a vegan version of Kashke Bademjan.
How to cook Kashke Bademjan?
You can use different types of eggplants for this dip, but avoid using seedy or bitter eggplants, as your dip will not have a good taste or texture. Depending on the size of your eggplants, its baking may take different amounts of time, and you can make them in various ways, based on how much oil you want to use in your meal.
Grilling the eggplants on a barbecue is an appealing option, you just have to wrap whole, unpeeled eggplants in aluminum foil and put them on the barbecue. Roast the eggplants for 30 min or more, depending on the size of the eggplant. You should grill them until a tender consistency is obtained in the meat of the eggplants. After they are cooled down, you can easily peel off the skin of the eggplants.
But it’s not always easy to get a barbecue in the middle of the week, so the other choice would be to fry them. Cut off and discard the stem end of the eggplants, and peel them off. Cut the eggplants into thick slices of three to five centimeters. Eggplants absorb a lot of oil while frying and one way to reduce the amount of oil you are using is to add a sprinkle of salt to it before frying. Let them soak the salt for 30 minutes so that they absorb less oil while frying.
I prefer the easier and healthier version of putting foil-wrapped, whole eggplants in the oven and let them bake for about an hour. This makes things much easier especially if you’re cooking for a bunch of people. After about an hour, the eggplants are baked and you can peel off the skin. In this way, you are using the least amount of oil for baking the eggplants.
One thing that I like about this dip is that you can prepare the eggplants in either of the ways mentioned above and keep them in the freezer for a few months. Thus, you can make this dip fast and easy using your frozen eggplants.
After your eggplants are baked with a creamy texture, you can then smash them easily and let them roast on the stove with some oil for 20 min.
While waiting for the eggplant to roast away, prepared the other ingredients for your dip. Caramelize the onions and some garlic in the oil with some turmeric until they are light brown. Then, take some dried mint leaves and fry them shortly with some oil, be careful to be fast as they burn quite quickly.
Mix the smashed eggplants with Kashk, the fried dried mints, some crushed walnuts, and the caramelized onion and garlic. Add enough salt and pepper to your taste. Be careful to not put too much salt, as Kashk already adds a salty flavor to your dip.
Let the whole mixture on heat for 10-15 min, so that all the flavors combine. Design your final meal with extra caramelized onion and garlic, dried mints, chopped walnuts, and Kashk. Some people like Kashk so much that they want to add even more on top of their meal.
How to eat Kashke Bademjan?
You can try this Persian Eggplant Dip – Kashke Bademjan with Persian flatbread such as Lavash, Sangak, Taftoon or Barbari. You can also eat it with other types of flatbreads like Lebanese bread, Indian naan or any other type of bread. However, I also enjoy its taste without bread as an appetizer. You can try eating this dip either warm or cold depending on your taste. Also, if you are cooking for people who may not be garlic fans, put the fried garlic on the side for them to try as they wish.