There is something so fundamentally evocative and transforming about flavor- mustering hidden memories, throwing you back into moments and meals, back in time. For me, nothing is more powerful than traditional Persian saffron and rosewater; as if I’m sitting at my grandparent’s table slurping up a heaping bowl of my grandmother’s deeply nourishing, fragrant, and abundantly savory khoresh- her Persian stew. Loaded with onions, garlic, saffron, turmeric, herbs, and whichever fruits and vegetables were in season, her khoresh were (are) unmatched. Today I am so excited to share a simplified vegan khoresh, an autumnal eggplant stew made with golden turmeric, rose water soaked saffron, plump raisins, and caramelized stringy onions, in an unequivocally divine tomato based broth. The perfect meal for fending off Autumn chill; for getting cozy. I serve my khoresh over a bowl of fresh brown basmati rice, topped with cilantro and lightly toasted walnuts.
Place eggplant in a colander, sprinkle with water and 1 tablespoon salt and allow to sit for 20 minutes. Rinse and blot dry.
In a large skillet heat 2 tablespoons coconut oil over medium-high heat. Add eggplant and sauté, stirring frequently, until eggplant is soft and cooked through. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a large Dutch oven or oven safe heavy pot, heat remaining 2 tablespoons coconut oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté until just soft (about 6 minutes). Add garlic, mushrooms, and spices and sauté for an additional minute or until spices are fragrant. Stir in tomatoes, raisins, filtered water, and lime juice and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and allow stew to simmer for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, reheat oven to 350 degrees F, rack in the middle.
Gently stir in eggplant and transfer pot, uncovered, to oven. Bake for 30 minutes, serve, and enjoy!