Haleem Bademjan (or Eggplant and Lentil Dish) is a popular Persian dish made with eggplant, shredded meat (beef or lamb), lentil and whey, and garnished with fried mint, garlic, and onion.

Iran Press/Iran news: Haleem Bademjon is often served as a starter or as a main dish with a special Persian bread called Lavash, but you can serve it with pita bread or any kind of bread you like.

This is a recipe for the famous Haleem Bademjan:

Ingredients:

- 3 large eggplants (about 1.7 kg), peeled and sliced lengthwise into 3/4 inch thick slices

- 1 1/2 cups lentil, picked over to remove any stones

- 450 g stewing beef (or beef neck), cut into 1-inch pieces

- 3/4 cup Kashk (whey), you can find it at any Iranian store

- 2 large onions, thinly sliced

- 7 garlic cloves, chopped (for garnish)

- 1/3 cup dried mint

- cooking oil

- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder

- 1/8 teaspoon ground saffron

- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

- salt & pepper to taste

Instructions:

Chop the onions up and fry in oil in a pot. Once the onions start turning a golden brown color take out about half and place aside for later use. Add the ground beef and lentils to the remaining onions in the pot and stir. Add turmeric, salt, and pepper and continue stirring. Add 1-2 cups of water and cover with a lid and allow the meat to cook for 40 to 50 minutes on medium heat. If it starts to dry up you can add a little more water.

Peel the eggplants and chop them up length-wise. Add salt to the eggplants and in a frying pan heat up the oil on medium-high heat. Fry the eggplants on both sides until golden. Once all the eggplants pieces are fried you want to throw them in a food processor or mash them up some other way. Then add the mashed mixture to the meat mixture and stir in and mash everything together. Add a cup of water if there is not enough water and the mixture seems too dry. You want to cook over medium-low heat for at least an hour and stir occasionally until no water is left. Halfway through I took half of the mixture and poured it into my blender to puree and get a smoother mixture. You may want to leave the lid off the pot to make sure the water evaporates. Keep in mind that after you allow the Haleem Bademjoon to cool down it will thicken as well. Once the Haleem Bademjoon is cooked remove the mix from the heat and add the kashk. Mix the contents well and then pour into a serving dish.

Fry the onions you put aside a bit more until a darker golden brown (piaz dagh or fried onion). Fry the dry mint in oil as well. Sprinkle the fried onions and fried mint over the Haleem Bademjoon in the serving dish and you are done! Serve with bread 

Note: Be careful with the amount of water you use, especially if you are going to puree the mixture it may take a lot longer for all the water to evaporate. I ran into this problem and had to let it cook for a long time just to get most of the water to evaporate.

Adjust the seasoning and garnish with fried garlic, fried onions, and remaining fried mint. Serve warm with pita or Lavash bread.

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Read more:

Iranian Food: Persian Haleem (Wheat and Meat Porridge)

Iranian Food: Kotlet (Persian Meat Patties)