Growing up as a Persian, you very quickly get your taste buds exposed to an insane amount of flavor. Spices like saffron, turmeric, cinnamon, and rose water are a few of my absolute favorites. But for me, its more about my curiosity that has put me on this path. I want to create a platform where you get a fusion of different cultures on one plate. How fun is that? So FUN!
It is quite an extraordinary feeling to create a dish from scratch and to enjoy the whole process. I am here to change things up and challenge you to step it up and try something new.
I came up with this recipe for the love of Persian and Indian food. I mean how can you not love the scent of warm spices with a fresh onion salad and when that fresh yogurt garlic sauce gets poured, I think my heart skips a beat. Its absolute heaven.
Now let's get down to business......As you start cooking with my recipes, you will get familiar with my techniques and will realize very quickly that I do not sacrifice flavor. How do I develop flavor? Well, with fresh ingredients, spices and NOT skipping steps. Yes, I guess I could throw in everything all at once and hope for the best but I will be sacrificing the depth of flavor development. I am here to persuade, change and shake things up in your kitchen.
OK, do I have your attention or are you too busy wiping your mouth from all the drooling? 😋😁
If there is one advice I can give you before you dive in......PLEASE remember to check on the freshness of your spices and don't rush the process. It is going to make or break this dish.
Enjoy the process lovelies.
Prep/cook:1hour 20 min
1 Medium Onion (finely diced)
2TBS Ginger (finely diced)
1TBS Garlic (finely diced)
1/2 cup Yellow Split Peas
1 1/4 cup fresh tomatoes (chopped)
3 cups of Eggplants(1/2 inch diced/peeled)
6 TBS Olive Oil
1Whole Chile pepper (left whole)
3 Dried Bay Leaves
1tsp Coriander Powder
1/2tsp Vietnamese Cinnamon
1 1/2tsp Kosher Salt
1/2 tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper
2 cups Water
Note: If you are using Japanese Eggplants for this dish, you can go ahead and leave the skin on due to its delicate nature.
1) Gather and prep all of your ingredients.
2) Heat a dutch oven or a stainless steel pot over medium heat. To it add 4TBS of Olive oil and the diced onion. Cook about 5 min until translucent.
3)Now add to it the ginger and garlic. Toss to combine and cook for about 1min.
4) When ready add the spices(Bay leaves, turmeric, coriander, cumin, and Vietnamese cinnamon) and stir to combine for about another min. Continue to add the Yellow Split Peas, combine and cook for 2-3 min.
**Note if there is some build up of "Fond" (this term refers to the brown bits on the bottom of your pot) try to loosen it with your wooden spoon and get it combined in with the ingredients. This adds flavor to your final product. ----Make sure it does not burn, you may need to adjust the heat.
5)Now add the tomatoes, stir to combine ( juice from the tomato is also going to help loosen the fond). Cook for 3-5 or until tomato has broken down.
6)Finally add the diced eggplants, the rest of the olive oil (2TBS), salt, black pepper and the whole Chile. Cook for about 5 minutes, stiring it every few minutes to keep the cooking process even.
7) Add the water and bring it to a simmer, then lower the heat to medium low and cook it with lid on a slant for about 25-30minutes ( add additional water if you find it necessary to complete the cooking process).
**Note: cooking time may need to get adjusted, cook the stew until it has reduced and the eggplant/yellow split pea are both tender (like the picture to the right). You do not want the ingredients to completely fall apart.
**Don't forget to taste your food and add salt/pepper if necessary.
------Use cayenne pepper if you are looking for an additional kick.
***This dish can be eaten the day its made but is even more delicious the day after***
Red Onion/Cilantro salad
I Medium Red onion(thinly sliced)
1/2 cup of Cilantro(roughly chopped)
Juice of 1/2 Lime
Prep the ingredients above and place them in a bowl and give it a good toss to combine. Set aside for later use.
**Fresh Garlic Yogurt Sauce**
1 cup Greek Yogurt
1 garlic clove (finely minced)
1/2 cup water
salt/pepper to taste
Combine all the ingredients above and mix to combine. Add additional water if necessary to get it to a thick sauce consistency.
You can eat this with country bread, flat breads, pita or even white rice. It delicious with any of these options.