Eggplant and Tomato Stew with Pomegranate Molasses

By • August 23, 2013 • 14 Comments



Author Notes: Make bademjan, as this stew is called in Farsi, on a lazy day when you have time to caramelize the onions until they’re dark and sweet, then cook the stew and let it rest for a while on the stove before eating to let the flavors develop. It’s important to use Japanese eggplants in this recipe, because their flesh is sweeter than regular eggplant and they have fewer and smaller seeds. Traditionally, the eggplant is fried before being added to the stew; but in the interest of health, I’ve chosen to roast it instead, using very little oil, and I’m happy to report that the result is simply delectable. I prefer to use a sweetened pomegranate molasses in this recipe, but if you have the unsweetened variety, you can add a shot of honey to balance the flavors: start with 1 tablespoon and sweeten to taste. You can bake off the eggplant and cook the split peas the day before. (This recipe is from The New Persian Kitchen by Louisa Shafia).Louisa Shafia

Serves 4

  • 2 pounds Japanese eggplant, peeled and diced
  • Sea salt
  • 5 tablespoons grapeseed oil
  • 1/2 cup split peas
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 medium to large tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate molasses
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups vegetable or chicken stock, boiling
  • freshly ground black pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Spread the eggplant on the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon of the oil. Bake for 40 minutes, stirring gently every 10 minutes to prevent sticking. When the eggplant is completely soft, let it cool to room temperature.
  3. While the eggplant cooks, combine the split peas with the water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer, covered, for about 40 minutes, until the peas are tender. Drain and season with 1 teaspoon salt.
  4. Heat the remaining 4 tablespoons oil in a Dutch oven or a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for 10 minutes, until it starts to darken, then cook slowly over low heat for about 30 minutes, until it is dark brown and about half its original volume. Add the eggplant, tomatoes, turmeric, cinnamon, pomegranate molas- ses, garlic, split peas, and 1 teaspoon salt. Add the stock and bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, partially covered, for 1 hour. Uncover and simmer for 15 minutes, until the stew is thick.
  5. Turn off the heat and let the stew rest for 15 to 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve.
Jump to Comments (14)

Tags: eggplant, stew, tomato

Comments (14) Questions (0)

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9 months ago maite

Looks amazing, but what would be a good substitute for tomatoes?

Scarf

9 months ago Louisa Shafia

Interesting question. If for some reason you can't eat tomatoes (maybe too much acid?), you could substitute diced winter squash like butternut or pumpkin, and adjust the acid with some lemon juice and extra pomegranate molasses.

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10 months ago XenaB

Made this with the boiled apple cider syrup from KAF as a substitute for pomegranate molasses. Thanks for the suggestion because I had it at home. This is delicious and filling. Can't wait to share with my friends.

Scarf

10 months ago Louisa Shafia

Happy to hear it, thanks for sharing your results!

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11 months ago lynx60489

Hi Louisa, I absolutely love eggplants and can't wait to try this stew. Quick question, how did you come up with the addition of split peas in this recipe and what do they add (texture, flavor)? I followed your links to the other Khoresht e Bademjan and none of them seem to call for split peas.

Scarf

11 months ago Louisa Shafia

Hi lynx60489,
Great question. I added the split peas to give the stew body and thickness, without them it would be too thin. They're actually a traditional Iranian ingredient, you'll see split peas in other stews. This being a vegetarian stew, I wanted it to be able to stand alone as a main course, and the beans make the dish satisfying and give it protein.

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11 months ago lynx60489

Hi Louisa,

I prepped the split peas and eggplant yesterday and finished making the rest of the stew tonight. It was wonderful and I suspect it will be even better tomorrow! Both my boyfriend and I loved it.

I ended up adding 1 lb of cubed lamb shoulder and halving the amount of broth. I am really glad I did since my stew turned out really runny as is.

Also, I liked the split peas so much that I am thinking of upping the quantity to 3/4 cups next time.

Thanks for sharing a great and healthy dish! It is a great alternative to the Moroccan and Lebanese stews I frequently make. I loved it!

Scarf

11 months ago Louisa Shafia

lynx60489,

Excellent! I'm glad you riffed on the stew and made it your own. Sounds delish! Yes, experiment with adding more split peas and see how it comes out. And sometimes the texture ends up being perfect the next day, after everything has had a chance to mingle.

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11 months ago Edamamemonster

If I can't find pomegranate molasses is there something else I can use as a substitute?

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11 months ago vivian wood

You mentioned meat in the beginning. What kind of meat would be used and how and when do you incorporate it? I have eaten this dish in several Persian restaurants and love it.

Scarf

11 months ago Louisa Shafia

Hi Vivian, I've seen it made with either lamb or chicken. If using either one, you would brown them with the onions during step 4. For a more detailed explanation, here is a version of the recipe on Food & Farsi that uses chicken http://www.foodandfarsi..., and here's one on Persian Recipes that uses lamb or beef http://www.persian-recipes....

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11 months ago vivian wood

Thanks! That will be very helpful.

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11 months ago Petite fee

love..love..Persian food!!

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11 months ago Lily

This looks delectable! Eggplants are showing up at my local farmer's market so I can't wait to make this stew!