In Persian cuisine, this khoresh (Persian stew) is typically prepared as two separate dishes – Khoresh-e-Bademjan (eggplant stew) and Khoresh-e-Gheymeh (split pea stew). Each is made with meat and is a tomato-based stew. Each are incredibly popular dishes.
To be honest, however, I did not like Khoresh-e-Bademjan as a child. The texture of the eggplant, the taste of the meat juices, the red color of the stew, and I could not ignore there was an animal in my food. I only began to enjoy this dish once it was prepared vegetarian.
Now, my mom and I combine the ingredients of Khoresh-e-Bademjan with Khoresh-e-Gheymeh for a hearty, delicious, plant-based dish with mushroom, eggplant, split peas and French fries! Who needs meat?!
If you prefer to prepare this dish as just Khoresh-e-Gheymeh (i.e. without the eggplant), just increase the yellow split peas to 1 cup.
The eggplant in this dish can be prepared in two different methods (baked or fried) depending on your tolerance for cooking with oil. I think the frying method below tastes better, but the baking method is healthier.
Method 1 – Baking the Eggplant: Spray a baking sheet with oil. Lightly coat the peeled and cut eggplant with oil and place on the baking sheet. Bake at 350 F until golden brown. Then put on broil for about 2 minutes.
Method 2 – Frying the Eggplant: Add 2 Tbsp. oil to a pan on medium heat. Add the peeled and cut eggplant in batches, and fry until golden brown on both sides (adding more oil as needed – typically another 2 Tbsp. oil).
- 2/3 cup yellow split peas (rinsed and soaked in warm water for at least 1 hr)
- 3 Japanese eggplants (peeled and cut in long, thin slices – but not too thin or it may burn in the baking method above)
- Cooking oil
- 1 small onion chopped
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 1/2 tsp. turmeric
- 1/4 tsp. paprika
- 1/4 tsp. cumin
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2 cups chopped mushroom
- 1 cup tomato purée
- 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
- 2.5 cups water
- 2 Tbsp. ground dried lime (Should be available at Persian, Indian, Afghan, or other international market)
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Prepare the eggplant according to the baking or frying method above. Set aside.
- Add 1 Tbsp. oil to a medium pot on medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for 3-4 minutes until translucent.
- Add the garlic and sauté for 2 more minutes.
- Add the spices (except the dried lime powder) and stir.
- Add the mushrooms and sauté for 5-10 minutes until caramelized.
- Add the tomato puree and tomato paste and cook for 3 more minutes.
- Add the water and the split peas and the dry lemon powder. Stir, cover and cook until the split peas are tender (about 30 minutes). Add more water as needed. It should not be too thick. I usually add about another 1 cup water.
- Assemble the khoresh for baking – in a medium glass baking dish, assemble half the fried/baked eggplant. Pour the stew over it. Place the remaining fried/baked eggplant on top. Cover with foil (poke a few holes in the foil with a fork), and cook for 40 to 50 minutes until the eggplant is tender and well cooked.
- Garnish with French fries! You can make your own French fries or use ready-made French fries. We used the Pik-Nik ready-made shoestring French fries in the picture above. 🙂
- Serve with Persian rice. Noosh-e-Jan (Enjoy!)
SERVES 4-5 people