‘Haleem Bademjan’ is a Persian dish made with mashed aubergine (egg-plant). It can be eaten as a meal on its own or as a starter. Apart from family meals we sometimes serve this at Bahá’í holy days. Personally this is one of my favourites. (Yes I know, I say that about all Persian food..).
The following recipe serves about 4-5 people.
4X Medium aubergines (mashed)
2 pounds of lamb cut into cubes
1 cup of lentils
1 cup of rice
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 cup of ground walnuts
2 large onions, chopped
Salt & Pepper to taste
A handful of finely chopped mint
A couple of tablespoonfuls of ‘Kashk’ (a kind of Persian dried Yoghurt; in its absence you could use some Greek Yoghurt instead, not really the same but..).
1) Peel the aubergines and remove the stem. Slice lengthwise, sprinkle with a little salt and leave in a sieve to drain. Fry until brown and soft, absorbing the oil. Turn off heat and allow to stand.Mash with potato masher.
3) Fry the meat, 1 chopped onion, and 2 cloves of garlic over in a medium pan on a moderate heat until they turn golden-brown.
4) Add water (about 1 cup). Cook on a medium-low heat for about 20 minutes.
5) Add lentils, mashed aubergines, rice, ‘kashk’ (or yoghurt) and ground walnuts and cook for a further 40 minutes, stirring to avoid sticking to the pan. (You will know when it is ready as the mixture will blend together, the meat separating into ‘fibres’ and the rice and lentils will cook and break down into the mixture). Add salt and pepper (to taste).
6) In a separate pan fry the remaining onion and garlic. When onion and garlic has turned golden brown add chopped mint and fry for a few more minutes. (This is called ‘Nana dagh’ in Persian).
7) Serve hot sprinkled with ‘Nana dagh’. (We usually eat Haleem Bademjan with bread).