How To Eat Badenjan - Afghan Eggplants
One thing that strikes me here in Kabul is how the most simple looking ingredient can get transfprmed into the most exotic dish that you might have ever tasted – that too with so less resources; for instance I got to eat Badenjan for today’s evening meal (Iftar). Well, this is a really simple dish made from eggplants (aubergines), but then the very simplicity of the dish – a stark contrast to the other preparations on offer, made eating Badenjan seem like some hedonistic pleasure of sorts. All those people out there who dislike eggplants (and of course, those who like it) please read on for you are about to discover a whole new face of this simple yet nutritious veggie (the dietician in me will never stop thinking of all the nutritive aspects of food)…
Well, Badenjan more popularly known as Baunjan or Banjan, literally means eggplants and there are several ways of cooking this vegetable, the most common recipes being Badenjan Borani (very similar to Kadu Bouranee), followed by simple curried Badenjan, Badenjan Salat (eggplant salad), and Badenjan Chalow (meat and eggplants cooked with rice and condiments). My gracious host had prepared the curried Badenjan, it is quite a simple recipe actually, – slices of local eggplants are fried and then cooked with potatoes, tomatoes, and traditional spices and condiments.
So, how to eat curried Badenjan….well like any other side dish served in the Dastarkhan actually. The table spread will typically have both one or more rice preparations and generous servings of the traditional Afghan Naan. You can eat Badenjan by either, tearing a piece of the naan and using it to scoop up the Badenjan or by mixing a generous serving of the curried eggplants with rice – the choice is all yours. If not in a traditional setting, you may choose to eat Badenjan as a pizza toping or a sandwich filling.
Image Credits: Wikipedia.org