I am always a sucker for a good dip, and when it has aubergines, it is even more appealing. Aubergines are one of the vegetables that people either love or hate, and if you love it, there are so many ways you can have it, fried, roasted and stuffed are just a few ways we make it in the Middle East. This delicious Persian dip, kashke bademjan, is similar to the Levant's baba ghanoush or mutabbal, and is one of the most popular Persian appetisers, found on almost every Persian restaurant menu. It consists of roasted aubergine, which is bademjan and kashke, a fermented yogurt used in many Persian dishes.
This dip has so many flavours, and hits all the notes, smokiness and a bit of sweetness from the roasted aubergine, tanginess from the yoghurt, floral from the saffron, and nuttiness from the walnuts. What makes this dip even better is the fact that it is so easy to whip up and can all be done in one pan.
When roasting your aubergines, make sure to do them in batches and not to overcrowd the pan so that you can get a nice colour on them. Don't worry about them cooking through because they'll be going back into the pan to cook and turn nice and soft. You also want to make sure to use good quality saffron, otherwise you'll end up with a metallic taste, so it would be better to skip the saffron if you don't have it. Kashke isn't always easy to find, and it is an acquired taste, so Greek yogurt is a great substitute. It adds a delicious creaminess and velvety texture to the dip. This dip isn't meant to be super smooth, so you do not need a blender, the back of a fork works perfectly to mash the aubergines to your desired consistency.
Top with another dollop or two of yogurt and the caramelised onions, add a sprinkling of toasted walnuts for the perfect crunch. Serve warm or at room temperature with some bread and dive into this moreish dish.
2 large aubergines, cut into rounds
½ cup olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp turmeric
1 tbsp dried mint
Salt and pepper
½ cup water
4 saffron threads soaked in 2 tbsp water
1.5 tbsp Kashke or Greek yogurt
2-3 tbsp Kashke or Greek yogurt
2 tsp olive oil
Reserved fried onions
- In a large pan or skillet, heat half of the olive oil and brown the aubergine on both sides. Do this in one layer and in batches. Don't worry if they do not cook through at this stage, you are just trying to get some colour. Heat the other half of the olive oil and brown the second batch of aubergine. Set aside.
- Add a bit more olive oil in the pan and sauté the onions until they are golden. Remove 1 tbsp of the onions and set aside. Add the garlic and continue to cook. Add the turmeric, mint, salt and pepper and mix well.
- Add the aubergine back in and mix. Add enough water to cover the bottom of your pan – about half a cup – and the saffron infused water, including the saffron threads. Mix, lower the heat and cover. Leave to cook until soft.
- Once cooked, turn off the heat, mash with a fork until desired consistency is reached. I like mine on the chunkier side. Mix in the yogurt, taste, and adjust seasoning if needed. Pour into a serving platter.
- To make the garnish, add the olive oil, mint and reserved fried onions, cook together for a minute and set aside. Spread the yogurt over the aubergine dip and top with the oil. Sprinkle with toasted walnuts and serve with bread. Enjoy!