Make-ahead Eggplant Borani: Velvety yet crispy-along-the-edges eggplant in a garlic-spiked yogurt sauce
Serve simply, all summer long
During the warmer months, enjoy this cooling, yogurt-based dish at gatherings with your friends and family. They will love the contrast of the salty, garlic-spiked yogurt against the velvety yet crispy-along-the-edges eggplant. This borani is a great stand-alone dish, served with flatbread, steamed rice or quinoa — but it can also be paired with Vegetable Biryani or Lamb and Apricot Pilaf. For a vegan version, you can use soy, almond or coconut yogurt.
The yogurt sauce, fried eggplant disks and spiced tomato base can be prepared in advance and stored in air-tight containers in the refrigerator. Allow them to come to room temperature before assembling.
*You can eliminate the dairy (and make this dish vegan) by using unsweetened coconut, almond or soy yogurt instead.
- 2 cups Greek-style yogurt (full-fat)*
- 1 tsp sea salt or Kosher salt
- 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
- ½ cup cold water
Fried eggplant disks:
- Grapeseed oil (other other neutral oil) for shallow frying
- 2 Italian eggplants (approximately 1¾ lb), sliced into ½-inch disks
Spiced tomato sauce:
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 shallots, finely minced
- ½ tsp cumin powder
- ½ tsp turmeric powder
- ¼-½ tsp red chili powder (adjust according to preference for heat)
- 1 cup Roma tomatoes, blanched, deseeded and finely chopped
- ½ cup water
- ½ cup pomegranate arils
- 2 tbsp mint, julienned
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- ½ tsp sweet smoked paprika
Prepare yogurt sauce:
Place yogurt, salt, garlic and water in a medium bowl and whisk together until smooth and creamy. Chill in the refrigerator for two hours, and up to 48 hours.
Prepare the fried eggplant disks:
Pour enough oil to come ½-inch up the side of a 10- to 12-inch skillet. Place skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, work in batches to fry the eggplant disks in a single layer, until golden brown and tender, 2-3 minutes per side. Transfer the eggplant to a paper towel-lined baking sheet to absorb excess oil.
Add more oil as necessary between batches, using a light hand.
Prepare the spiced tomato sauce:
Wipe the skillet clean, add the oil and shallots, and sauté until they bronze. Then add the cumin, turmeric, red chili, tomatoes and water. Simmer until thickened, about 5-7 minutes. Set aside and allow to cool to room temperature.
Assemble the borani:
Evenly spread the tomato sauce on the bottom of a large and shallow serving platter, or a 9x13 inch casserole dish. Arrange the eggplant disks on top, (stacking on top of one another, if necessary). Spread the chilled yogurt sauce on top. Before serving, adorn with pomegranate arils and mint. Sprinkle with paprika and drizzle olive oil over top.
Yield: Makes 4 servings