This recipe is taken from Pomegranates and Roses: My Persian Family Recipes by Ariana Bundy
- 6-7 medium aubergines
- 60ml (2. fl oz) olive oil
- 1 large onion, thinly sliced
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 75g (3oz) kashk
- 1tsp salt
- Pepper, to taste
- For the topping:
- 2 sprigs of fresh mint, finely chopped or 1tsp dried mint
- 2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 3 tbsp kashk
- 1/3 tsp saffron threads (pounded then dissolved in 2tbsp hot water)
- 1 tbsp ground walnuts
Bake the whole aubergines at 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6 for 45–60 minutes until charred.
Remove the skin, chop the flesh and place in a non-stick frying pan with the olive oil and onion, and fry until golden.
Add the chopped garlic at the very end and allow it to brown. Then add just enough water to cover the mixture and let it simmer for about 20–30 minutes so that it becomes soft enough to purée.
Purée the cooked aubergine and onion mixture in a food processor, with a hand-held mixer, pestle and mortar or even a potato masher, along with the kashk, plus salt and pepper to taste.
Make the topping.
Fry the mint in 1 tbsp oil, and set aside.
Fry the garlic in the remaining oil until golden, then set aside.
Spread the aubergine purée on a large shallow plate. Garnish with the fried mint and garlic, the kashk and a drizzle of olive oil and saffron liquid.
Sprinkle with walnuts and serve with lavash bread or any other thin bread, although a crusty baguette will also do nicely.
For a quick version, instead of baking whole aubergines, cut them into 8cm (3in) cubes. Place in a colander, run a little water over and then salt them to sweat away the bitterness. After 20–30 minutes, wipe the pieces with paper towels, then follow the method above.