An Afghan Approach to Eggplant
A very Central Asian approach to Eggplant. A bit of work to prepare, but everyone seems to enjoy the final result.
Eggplant with Tomatoes and Onion in Yogurt Sauce / Burani Banjan
4 medium Eggplant, about 1 pound each
½ cup Olive Oil
3 medium Onions
2 large ripe Tomaoes
½ teaspoon Cayenne Pepper, or more to taste
Yogurt Sauce for Brani Banjan — separate recipe in this Collection
Fresh Mint leaves
Nan or Lavash flat bread for serving
Cut off the stems from the Eggplants and cut them crosswise into slices about half an inch thick. Pick out 24 of the best slices, not the ends, and discard the rest or save for another use. Sprinkle the slices well with Salt and let stand for half an hour, then dry well and set aside.
Cut the Onions finely and set aside.
Peel the Tomatoes, seed them and slice them. Then set aside.
Chop the Mint leaves.
Turn on the broiler and while it is heating up, lay out the ingredients near the stove top.
Brush the Eggplant slices with about 2 tablespoons of Olive Oil and arrange them on a couple of cooking sheets. Broil until they are lightly browned, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Don’t over cook the Eggplant slices. They should still be a little underdone.
Put a heavy skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium fire and when it is hot put in 6 tablespoons of Olive Oil. When the Oil is hot, put in the chopped Onions and sauté until lightly browned and juicy but not crisp. It will take about 15 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the Onions and put them on a separate plate.
To finish cooking, lace 8 Eggplant rounds into the same large skillet. Top each with some of the chopped Onion and a Tomato slice.
Separatey mix ¾teaspoon of Salt and the Cayenne Pepper in a small cup and sprinkle about a third of this mixture over the Tomatoes.
Repeat with another layer of Eggplant, the remaining Onions and Tomatoes. Sprinkle half the remaining Salt and Cayenne mixture onto the slices. Place an Eggplant slice on top of eah stak and sprinkle with the remaining Salt and Cayenne powder.
Add a quarter cup of Water to the skillet. Cover the skillet tightly. Simmer, tightly covered, over low fire about 30 minutes.
To serve, spread half the Yogurt Sauce onto the bottom of a serving dish. Lift the Vegetable stacks carefully from the skillet and put them in the dish on top of the Yogurt Sauce. Put the remainder of the Yogurt Sauce on top of the Vegetable stacks and drizzle with the pan juices from the skillet.
Garnish with the chopped Mint. Serve immediately with Nan or Lavash flat bread.The recipe makes 8 Vegetable stack servings.