Joe Truskot, The Salinas Californian Published 8:26 a.m. PT Aug. 21, 2017 The use of fresh seasonal ingredients, high in fiber, with contrasting flavors and textures, has made Persian cuisine one of the world's healthiest. Khoresht or stew is featured throughout the year with whatever ingredients happen to be available at that time. So springtime will feature all the newly sprouted greens like spinach, summer oriental eggplant, fall walnuts and pomegranate molasses, and winter potatoes and dried yellow plums. This dish calls for the long Oriental type of eggplant with black skin. It's now readily available at farmers markets and grocery produce counters. It has a pleasant flavor and cooks quickly. Iranians often decorate the top of each plate with a few fried potatoes. Fry the tomato paste and turmeric to color the oil before adding water (Photo: Joe Truskot/The Salinas Californian)
ersian cooking involves specific techniques - what you do and when - to achieve the best results. Shortcuts often don't result in the best outcome. One of the most helpful websites with detailed instructions is masteringpersiancooking.com. Check it out for a quick journey through Iran's most popular meals. https://www.gannett-cdn.com/-mm-/abc24fbd7747a50af62bd39601855788dddef857/c=5-0-4027-3024&r=x408&c=540x405/local/-/media/2017/08/21/Salinas/Salinas/636389078335831385-IMG-7758.JPG Fry the eggplant to give them extra flavor and to keep them from falling apart (Photo: Joe Truskot/The Salinas Californian)
Eggplant and Yellow Pea Stew with Beef Ingredients 1/2 to 3/4 cup dried yellow split peas 5-6 oriental eggplants 2 tablespoons salt 4-5 tablespoons canola oil 2-3 cloves garlic 1 medium yellow onion 1 1/2 lbs. stew beef 3 oz. tomato paste 1/2 teaspoon turmeric 2 teaspoons salt 1 teaspoon pepper 4 cups water 1/2 cup canola oil for frying Instructions Boil the yellow peas in four cups of water until tender. Drain and set aside. Do not cut off the eggplant stem cap. Instead, use a sharp knife, cut a circle just under the cap and remove the overhanging portion. Peel the skin completely off the eggplant. Prepare a deep bowl with 2 quarts or so of water into which 2 tablespoons of salt has been dissolved. Submerge the freshly peeled eggplant in the brine. Use a dessert plate to keep the eggplant from floating. Persian cooks insist that this process helps remove any bitterness in the eggplant and prevents it from absorbing too much oil. In a straight-sided skillet, saute the chopped oil and minced garlic over medium-high heat until the onions begin to brown on the edge. Turn the heat to high. Add the beef which should be in 3/4 inch cubes and brown on all sides. Then add the turmeric, tomato paste, salt and pepper. Continue to fry until the oil has colored and the tomato paste is evenly distributed. Pour in the water, bring to a boil and reduce to low. Cover and simmer the beef until it's fork tender which depending on the cut of meat could be an hour or more. Meanwhile, drain, rinse briefly and pat dry the eggplant. At this point, I pour the stew into an 8-quart pot. Clean the skillet, put it back on the stove and heat 1/2 cup oil in the bottom. Using a long pair of tongs, fry the eggplant. It's likely to splatter a bit. Brown all sides. The eggplant is done when it becomes limp which is about 7 or 8 minutes. Drain on paper towels to absorb any excess oil. Add the yellow peas to the stew and stir well. Gently add the fried eggplants to the stew and make certain they are all submerged in the sauce. Simmer for another 30 minutes to combine all the flavors. Serve the stew over a mound of steamed basmati rice. https://www.gannett-cdn.com/-mm-/abc24fbd7747a50af62bd39601855788dddef857/c=5-0-4027-3024&r=x408&c=540x405/local/-/media/2017/08/21/Salinas/Salinas/636389078345971515-IMG-7762.JPG Serve Khoresht-e Ghaimeh Badamjoon on a bed of basmati rice (Photo: Joe Truskot/The Salinas Californian)
--This combination of eggplant, yellow peas and beef is perfect for the tomato and turmeric sauce. ---...