All About the Veg! is a new recipe column where Best of Vegan contributor Seiran Sinjari breaks down one amazing plant at a time. In today’s column, she shares why eggplants are her favorite vegetables, as well as her tips and tricks on how to cook them perfectly. Her recipe for Bacanreşk bi Mast û Sîr, also known as Kurdish Fried Eggplant with Vegan Garlic Yogurt & Fried Herbs is a sure-fire way to win someone over to team eggplant!
Eggplant, when properly cooked it’s absolute heaven, I promise! Whenever I hear someone say they don’t like eggplant I just know they have to give their eggplant some extra love and most importantly, have patience when cooking them. Eggplants need to be cooked through until tender on the inside (even if grilling them) so we get rid of the spongy texture and slight bitterness. Another thing you can do is to salt them after cutting them and let sit for a while with or without added weight on top, to release some of that bitter liquid before cooking them. This way they will also absorb less oil when cooking.
Thinking of it, eggplant is probably my favorite vegetable all year around. They soak up seasoning like nothing else, you can play around with textures and they can be prepared in so many different ways, anything from pickling to stews and dips. I have several favorite eggplant recipes, but the one I’m always recommending when trying to win someone over to team eggplant is this simple dish I often had when growing up. It’s called ‘Bacanreşk bi Mast û Sîr’ in Kurdish and translates to ‘Eggplant with Yogurt and Garlic’.
The eggplant is sliced into rounds and fried until golden brown on the outside and creamy inside, salted and then you can either sprinkle them with minced garlic after arranging them in a single layer and finally top with yogurt or you can mix the garlic with the yogurt.
In today’s recipe I’m also topping the eggplants with fried herbs which isn’t really traditional. You can top with fresh herbs or leave them out all together, it will still be ridiculously tasty. One thing you can’t skip (as always) is serving with bread! The combination of fresh bread, savory fried eggplant, garlic and tangy yogurt is just pure magic that you simply cannot miss. We typically serve this as part of a selection of sharing dishes or as a side dish.
Just describing this makes me hungry (I hope you’re getting curious too) so let’s start prepping our eggplant!Print
- 1 medium sized eggplant, sliced into 0.5 cm rounds
- 250 g vegan greek style yogurt
- 1–2 tbsp cold water (to thin out yogurt if needed)
- 1–2 garlic cloves, minced (more or less to taste)
- flaky sea salt
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 small bunch dill, very finely chopped
- 1 small bunch mint, very finely chopped
- 1 small bunch parsley or coriander, very finely chopped
- ½ tsp Aleppo chili flakes (or other mild red pepper flakes)
- oil for frying
Serve with: fresh bread, preferably pita or flatbread but crusty sourdough would also be amazing.
- Arrange the sliced eggplant in one single layer on 1 or two plates and sprinkle with some sea salt. Place another plate on top with some weights and let sit for 20-30 minutes.
- Brush off excess salt and pat dry from the released liquid with a clean kitchen towel.
- Cover the bottom of a pan with high smoke point oil and heat over medium high heat. Fry the eggplant in two or three batches until golden brown on both sides and completely cooked through. Let excess oil drip off on some paper towels.
- Mix together garlic and yogurt in a bowl, add some water if the yogurt is too thick. You want it to be thick but not too runny.
- Place olive oil in a pan over medium heat, add the herbs and stir-fry until they become crispy but not burnt. Then immediately pour the herbs along with the oil into a heat safe bowl.
- Place the fried eggplants on a serving plate in a single layer just slightly overlapping. Sprinkle some flaky salt to taste and drizzle the garlic yogurt on top. Finish with the herb oil and Aleppo chili flakes. Serve with bread.
Find more of Seiran’s recipes at @legallyplantbased.
Recipe and photography by Seiran Sinjari.
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