I really enjoyed some of the Afghan dishes that I had while I lived there. Each of the cooks taught me how to make one of my favorite dishes.

This is Hussain showing me how to make eggplant. This dish was so good that if someone came to dinner a little late they often didn’t get any! However, once I learned how to make it, I wasn’t sure if I would actually do it. It has 3 major steps, making it time-consuming (although far from the most time-consuming Afghan recipes). While I enjoy cooking, that’s quite a commitment. But I finally attempted it last week, and I’m so pleased with it. Here’s the basic recipe, although quantities are eyeball estimates.

Eggplant with yogurt

Preparing eggplant

2 eggplant* (long, skinny “chinese” variety recommended”)

Salt

Vegetable oil

First, slice eggplant, sprinkle with salt, and set for 30 min. Next, rinse eggplant with water to remove salt and juices (I patted them dry after this). Heat oil in shallow pan and deep fry slices for 3-5 min on each side until lightly brown. (Note: this is the time consuming step because you can only cook so many at a time.)

Tomato sauce

6 tomatoes

4 garlic cloves

1 t. salt

1 t. pepper

Combine above ingredients. Cook on medium heat until tomatoes resemble a sauce. Layer cooked eggplant and tomato sauce in oven pan. Bake at around 350 degrees for 20 min.

Yogurt sauce

1-1.5 cups yogurt (sour or natural plain yogurt)

1-2 t. salt

2 cloves of garlic

Combine yogurt, salt, and garlic (I recommend doing this toward the beginning and letting it sit). Place yogurt sauce over the eggplant dish and serve.

The dish is blissful!

Note: I tried using canned tomatoes and the sauce was a little too watery, but I can adjust that. And now that I’ve made it successfully, I’m going to try some tweaks to see if I can find a quicker way to cook the eggplant, such as broiling the eggplant in the oven.

If you attempt to make this, you will be pleasantly surprised in just how good it tastes!

*I have to mention that until I went to Afghanistan I didn’t think I liked eggplant. I was completely surprised to eat it there and love it! I’ve since learned that eggplant varieties vary substantially in taste. The nice round ones are typical in the US, and the slender ones are found at specialty stores (and at your local grocery are often called chinese eggplant). If you haven’t tried different kinds, I highly recommend it.

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