Eggplant with walnut and pomegranate sauce

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This recipe is inspired from a traditional Persian recipe called “Koresh-e fesenjān” which is a chicken, walnut and pomegranate stew.

I adapt it to a vegan version with eggplant. It is absolutely delicious!

Eggplant with walnut and pomegranate sauce

Servings 4
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 45 mins

Ingredients

  • 4 medium size eggplants (or 2,5 big eggplants)
  • 120 g walnut kernels
  • 50 cl pomegranate juice or 2tbsp of pomegranate molasses
  • ½ pomegranate
  • 1 medium size yellow onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 250 ml vegetable broth
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • salt
  • pepper
  • olive oil
  • 30 g sugar

Instructions

Pomegranate molasses preparation

  • If you don’t have pomegranate molasses (which you can find in oriental or Iranian grocery stores), start by making some from pomegranate juice.
  • Pour the pomegranate juice and sugar into a thick-bottomed saucepan and bring it to a boil.
  • Once boiling is reached, continue cooking over low heat for a good 40 minutes, stirring regularly. The syrup obtained should thicken and coat the back of a spoon. Be careful not to thicken the mixture too much as it will become sticky like a caramel, and the syrup will continue to thicken while cooling.

Preparation of the eggplants

  • Preheat the oven to 180 °C.
  • Wash and cut the eggplants into sticks about 5 cm long and 2 to 3 cm wide.
  • Arrange the cut eggplants on a baking tray covered with baking paper and drizzle olive oil over the eggplant pieces. Mix and bake for about 25 minutes until they are tender.
  • While the eggplants are cooking, prepare the sauce.

Preparation of the sauce

  • Finely chop the walnut kernels in a chopper or small blender until you obtain a crumble.
  • Finely chop the onion and garlic.
  • Fry the onion in a lightly oiled hot pan over medium heat until translucent.
  • Add the garlic, sauté for 2 minutes.
  • Then add the pomegranate molasses, walnuts and spices. Mix well and let the sauce thicken and the ingredients bond for a few minutes.
  • Then add the hot vegetable stock and simmer over very low heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent the sauce from sticking to your pan. The sauce should keep on thickening while the water evaporates.
  • Once the sauce is ready and the eggplants cooked, serve by pouring the sauce into a deep plate first and then place the eggplants.
  • Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds and optionally add a few leaves of coriander or parsley.
  • Serve with Iranian rice (see recipe on the blog).

Notes

A few variations…
You can try the meat version with chicken thighs (2 large thighs for the amount of ingredients in this recipe), in this case you will first fry them once in a little oil, then once the sauce is ready, you will simmer them in the sauce 30 to 40 minutes.
You can also change vegetables and replace eggplant with squash for instance, and why not adding also some chickpeas ?
For a fall version, try the recipe with green lentils (200 g for the quantities of the other ingredients indicated in this recipe), add or not some mushrooms. Also really delicious!
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Persian
Keyword: Eggplant, Vegan, Walnut

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