Khoresh bademjan is a delicious Persian eggplant stew that’s normally served with rice and tahdig. Learn how to make this easy Persian recipe with this recipe and step-by-step video tutorial.
If you are into making Persian recipes, you know that stews are a big part of Iranian cuisine. From our famous ghormeh sabzi and fesenjan to delicious gheimeh, stews and rice dishes are an important part of our culinary tradition. Today’s recipe is another classic that we all love and make on a regular basis.
Eggplant in Persian cooking
Eggplant is a big part of Persian cooking and we use it often in our recipes. You can use it in appetizers such as kashke bademjan or as a vegetarian main dish like mirza ghasemi. We even make a delicious Persian eggplant soup that’s full of herbs and legumes. In addition to these recipes, we also make khoresh (Persian stew) with eggplants, which is the subject of this post.
In traditional Persian recipes we usually use eggplants that are similar to Chinese eggplants; however, Italian eggplants also work well in these recipes. I don’t suggest using globe eggplants with Persian eggplant recipes because they are usually seedy and spongier.
Ingredients for making khoresh bademjan
- Vegetable oil
- Yellow onion – chopped.
- Lamb – trimmed and cut into chunks.
- Spices – Turmeric, salt, pepper, cinnamon.
- Tomato paste
- Chinese Eggplants – peeled and cut in half lengthwise. Italian eggplants can be used as well.
- Dried Persian lime (optional) – These add a nice tanginess to the stew. You can simply use a splash of lemon juice.
How to make this Persian eggplant stew
- Heat vegetable oil in a large pot over medium heat.
- Saute the onion until translucent.
- Add in the lamb to the onion and sear until brown on all sides.
- Season the lamb with the spices and tomato paste. Stir well.
- Add water and bring the stew to simmer. Cover and let it cook for about 1 hour and 30 minutes until the lamb is fully cooked.
- Meanwhile, heat some oil in a non stick pan over medium heat. Fry the eggplants for about 5 minutes on each side until they are fully cooked.
- Once the lamb is cooked, pierce the Persian dried limes (if using) with a fork and add them to the stew. Let it simmer for 10 minutes.
- Add the fried eggplants to the stew and let it simmer for 5 minutes.
- Serve warm with rice.
Serving Persian stews
The traditional way to serve khoresht bademjan, like just about any other Persian stew, is with rice. Here are some of our favorite rice recipes you can make:
Substitutions for lamb
The flavor of lamb might not be everyone’s favorite. It’s an acquired taste if you didn’t grow up in a country or family where it is commonly served. However, you can use beef or chicken instead of lamb to make this recipe. The steps and instructions remain the same, but the cooking time may vary.
Do I need to salt the eggplants?
If using Chinese eggplant, you probably don’t need to salt the eggplants and let them “sweat” out the bitter liquid. However, if you are the type of cook who likes to salt your eggplant, you can definitely do it for this recipe.
Can I use other types of eggplants?
Khoresh bademjan, like other Persian eggplant dishes, is usually made with Chinese eggplant. It’s possible to use Italian eggplants but I don’t suggest using globe eggplant as it’s very large and has a spongier texture. Read this article to learn more about different types of eggplants and their uses.
How to make this dish vegetarian
One thing that I really love about Persian/Iranian food is that it’s so easy to make it vegetarian. Whenever I have vegetarian friends over, I serve Persian dishes because they’re so easy to modify. Simply leave the meat (lamb, beef or chicken) out. You can use some kind of vegetable such as mushrooms instead of the meat. The main flavor relies within the sauce so all you need to do is to make sure the sauce is made right and has been seasoned well.
Khoresh bademjan with baked eggplant
Not a fan of frying? You can easily bake the eggplants for this recipe. Generously sprinkle the eggplants with salt on both sides and let them sit for 30 minutes to sweat out the bitter liquid. Preheat the oven to 400ºF and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Pat dry the eggplants on both sides and brush them with olive oil. Place the eggplants on the baking sheet and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes until they are cooked. Then add them to the stew and simmer them for a few minutes as mentioned in the recipe instructions.
Can I freeze this?
You can definitely freeze this stew. However, I would suggest that you freeze the stew and the fried eggplants separately; otherwise the eggplants might fall apart and get mushy when reheated.
To serve, thaw the stew and the eggplants in the fridge overnight and heat in a sauce pan over medium heat. Once the stew starts to simmer, add the thawed eggplants to it and let it cook for 5 minutes. Serve warm with rice.
Looking for more eggplant recipes? Here are a few suggestions:
Khoresh Bademjan (Persian Eggplant Stew)
- 5 tbsp vegetable oil divided
- 2 large yellow onions chopped
- 1 lb lamb cut into 1 inch cubes
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 4 tbsp tomato paste
- 6 cups water
- 4 Chinese eggplants peeled and cut in half
- 5 dried Persian limes
- 3 roma tomatoes cut in half
- Heat 2 tbsp vegetable oil in a large pot over medium heat. Saute onion in the vegetable oil for about 5 minutes until golden.
- Add in the lamb to the sauteed onion and sear until brown. Add in turmeric, salt, pepper and cinnamon to the lamb and onion.
- Stir in the tomato paste and mix well.
- Pour the water and bring the stew to simmer. Let the stew cook for about one hour and 30 minutes until the lamb is fully cooked.
- Meanwhile, heat the remaining 3 tbsp vegetable oil in a pan over medium heat. Fry the eggplants for about 5 minutes on each side until they are soft and cooked.
- Once the stew is cooked and the lamb is tender, pierce the Persian limes with a fork and and add them to the stew. Let it simmer for 10 minutes.
- Add the fried eggplants to the stew and simmer for another 5 minutes.
- Heat some olive oil in a pan and fry the tomatoes for about 4 minutes on each side.
- Serve the stew with tomatoes and white rice.
- You can use either boneless leg of lamb (fat trimmed) or lamb shoulder for this recipe.
- If you don't want to use lamb, you can use beef (stew meat) or chicken.
- To make this stew vegetarian, leave out the meat and use mushrooms instead.
- Serve this stew with Persian white rice, instant pot white rice or instant pot brown rice.