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Afghan eggplant with yogurt sauce. This is my take on the Afghan dish Bouranee Baunjan, and although it is not exactly authentic, it is quite delicious. :) It's a bit of work to put it together, but is not difficult and is worth it.
- 1 large globe eggplant
- oil (for frying)
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon butter or ghee
- 1 large onion, sliced thinly
- ½ [green [bell pepper]], seeded and sliced thinly (optional)
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes, to taste
- 1 (14 – 15 ounces) can chopped tomatoes, with juice
- 1 cup strained yogurt (also known as yogurt cheese or "chakah")
- ½ teaspoon crushed garlic, to taste
- salt, to taste
- Clean the peel of the eggplant, then cut the stem off.
- Cut into ½ inch thick slices (leaving the peel on).
- Spread slices on a flat surface or tray and sprinkle generously with salt; let sit for 30 minutes, then dry well with paper towels.
- In a skillet or pan melt the olive oil and butter together over medium low heat; sauté the sliced onion (and green pepper, if using) until nicely browned and slightly caramelized, then stir in the red pepper flakes.
- Pour oil into a separate deep frying pan (one that has a lid) to cover the bottom of pan; over medium high sauté the eggplant slices on both sides until lightly browned.
- As the eggplant slices are done, gently squeeze them with tongs to remove as much oil out of them as possible; discard extra oil.
- Remove extra oil from the deep frying pan, then place one layer of eggplant slices on the bottom of the pan.
- Place a bit of cooked onion on top of each slice; repeat with another layer of eggplant and cooked onion, until you're out of slices and onion.
- Pour the chopped tomatoes with their juice over the slices and onion, careful to not dislodge the onion too much.
- Cover and simmer over medium heat for 15 minutes, then remove cover and simmer another 5 to reduce the sauce a bit.
- Combine the strained/drained yogurt, crushed garlic to taste, and salt to taste to make the chakah sauce.
- When eggplant is done, remove from heat then carefully transfer the slices to serving dish (careful not to dislodge the toppings), then top each with a dollop of the chakah sauce.