Eggplant Thursday: Borani Banjan

Borani Banjan is a traditional Afghan recipe that has eggplants layered in a tomato sauce and topped with a garlic yoghurt sauce and dried mint. It is so simple to make but the flavours are complex and blend so wonderfully together to make what has become one of my top favorite ways to make eggplant. It is SO good, if you love eggplant as much as I do, you have to make it.

I have shared this dish before here, but felt that it. deserves its own post. Share the goodness right?

I like the recipe from Mazar Cuisine and it is always the one I use when making this dish, though I sometimes roast the eggplant in the oven instead of frying.

Our ingredients are:-

  • 4 purple eggplants, thickly sliced and soaked in salty water to remove bitterness.
  • 4 sliced tomatoes.
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of tomato paste.
  • Spices: 1 teaspoon each of paprika, ground coriander, ground turmeric and 1/2 teaspoon of ground red chilli.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
  • 4 minced garlic cloves. (I used local garlic that has stronger flavour than imported one).
  • 1 level tbsp of dried mint.
  • I cup natural yoghurt.
  • Cooking oil.
After soaking the eggplant in salted water, rinse and pat dry with a paper towel. Toss with olive oil and roast in a 180°C oven for 20 – 25 minutes.
As the eggplant roasts you can get started on the tomato sauce.
In a heated saucepan, add 2 tbsp of cooking oil, and add half the minced garlic.
Once it releases its aroma, add the ground spices, the turmeric, paprika, chilli and coriander and mix well. Let the spices cook a while before adding the tomato paste and mix well. ( I added a green pepper I had on hand though its not included in the original recipe).
Add your sliced tomatoes and some salt, lower heat and cover. Let it cook till the tomatoes break down completely.
Meanwhile, add the yoghurt to a bowl, the rest of the minced garlic, the dried mint and some salt and pepper.
Mix well and set aside (I put mine in the fridge as it was a hot day, but if its cool you can leave it out on the counter till ready to use).
The tomatoes will have broken down completely into a lovely red rich and thick sauce.
Add the roasted eggplant to the tomato sauce and mix gently. If too dry you can add a splash of water. Cover and simmer for about 8-10 minutes for the eggplant to absorb the flavour and the sauce. Remember to check your seasoning too.
The eggplant really holds its shape well and is full of flavour with a bit of heat but not too much.
To serve, plate the eggplant then add the garlic yoghurt on top. Garnish with freshly ground black pepper and a bit of dried mint.
This might just become my favorite eggplant recipe!
I had mine with a simple flatbread made with self raising flour, yoghurt and some herbs.

The best way to have this is with a decent flatbread that is great for scooping up the sauce and balances out the flavours too.

This is a must try dish!

Cheesy Zucchini Sweetcorn Muffins.

This is an easy recipe and a staple in many homes with kids, as it is a great lunchbox option as a snack, a light lunch with a salad or soup on the side and because they keep so well, are a great option for those long road trips!

There are many ways to make this, this is how I do it. The best thing about savoury muffins is there is no limit to what you can put in; it is all about what you like.

Our ingredients are:-

  • 2 cups self raising flour.
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 small grated zucchini aka courgette.
  • 1/2 cup of sweetcorn
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted.
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • A pinch of mixed spice (optional)
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • A pinch of salt

Another thing I love with this recipe is it is a one bowl one, so less dishes. Quick, fast and easy to make.

Method.

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Line your 12 hole muffin pan with muffin cases.

Sift your flour in a large bowl, add the other ingredients and mix well.

Mix well but do not over mix and spoon into muffin cases.

Bake for 18- 20 minutes until golden and baked through, check with a skewer.

Enjoy them after letting cool for 15 minutes or so.

They are great on their own or with some soup on the side. Either way, you have to try them out. Tasty, filling and so easy the kids can make them themselves (with supervision of course).

Love,

Wanjoro.

Eggplant Thursday: Chana Dal and Aubergine recipe.

This is a tasty dish that works well for a weeknight dinner or lunchbox meal for the kids.

You will need;

  • Chana dal (already boiled with whole spices, I used cloves, cinnamon, turmeric and bay leaf).
  • 1 onion, sliced.
  • 1 tsp of mustard seeds.
  • Some garlic ginger paste, and some crushed coriander seeds.
  • 1 teaspoon dhania jeera powder.
  • 2 grated tomatoes.
  • 1 green capsicum, chopped.
  • I egg plant, chopped.
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and chopped.
  • 1 tsp garam masala.
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Coriander leaves and some fresh squeezed lemon for garnish.

Method.

Boil your chana dal with the whole spices until cooked but not mushy, set aside.

Heat oil in a large pan, add your mustard seeds, let pop then add the onions.

Once onions are soft, add the ginger garlic paste.

Add the eggplant then a bit of ground turmeric and the dhania jeera powder and mix well.

After cooking a few minutes add the grated tomatoes plus some salt. Let cook a while before adding the potatoes.

Once tomatoes are fully cooked, add some water about two cups and let simmer till potatoes are done.

Lastly, add the already boiled chana dal and the garam masala. Mix well and let the legumes heat through and get the flavour.

Check seasoning, add garnish and remove from heat.

Serve with chapati or rice.

I had mine with some tasty carrot and dhania chapati.

For the chapati, I kneaded the flour with the usual hot water and salt, as well as one grated carrot and 2 tbsp of chopped coriander leaves and a pinch of ground cumin that added a unique flavour to the flat bread.

They are so delicious and flaky you can have them on their own too or use them for a Ugandan Rolex, who’s recipe I have already shared here.

Try this stew and let me know what you think.

Love,

Wanjoro.

Red Cabbage Slaw.

Here is another simple side side recipe that goes well with grilled meats, wraps, plantain, roast potatoes and many more dishes.

I love red cabbage because of its colour, obviously, given my love for colourful food. But also because of its numerous health benefits. It has vitamins C, K, A, B6. Minerals such as iron, potassium, calcium, zinc among others. It is colourful hence heavy on antioxidants that help protect our cells, helps fight inflammations and contains fibre too. Cabbage often gets a bad rap but once you know how to prepare it and the health benefits, it will make a worthy addition to your meals.

Red aka purple cabbage is great for your gut health.

The best thing about red cabbage is you can have it cooked as I did here as a stir fry, you can include it in your vegetable manchurian or raw like in this salad.

To get started, you will need:-

  • Half a red cabbage, shredded or sliced thinly.
  • 2 grated carrots.
  • 1 sliced onion.
  • Dressing is 1 tablespoon low fat mayo, 1 tablespoon mustard, 1 tablespoon honey, 1 tsp mixed herbs and some lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste.

To begin, slice your onion and soak in warm salted water to reduce bitterness.

Red cabbage “bleeds” a lot and it may colour all the other vegetables. I read that sprinkling some vinegar helps so decided to try it in this recipe and it kinda worked.
In a bowl, mix the salad dressing ingredients and taste to ensure it is seasoned well and to your liking.
Add the carrot to the shredded cabbage.
Rinse and squeeze the onions dry and add to the bowl, then add the dressing and mix well.
Colourful, refreshing and tasty!
Had mine with some grilled plantain and baked chicken.

I like the crunch of the cabbage against the tang of the mustard and lemon coupled with the sweetness of the carrots and honey in the dressing. The dressing is just enough to coat the vegetables well without overpowering it. The sweetness of the plantains and the lemon marinade in the chicken match the salad well, a perfect burst of flavour in each bite. The kids love it and so do I.

How do you prepare your red cabbage? Please share any red cabbage recipes I can try out.

Love,

Wanjoro.

Instant Pot Kala Chana Curry.

One of the best things about having the instant pot is being able to boil dry cereals and legumes in a short period of time. No more setting aside a day to boil various legumes and pack them in the freezer for weeks or months, and woe unto you if you have no power for a day or so, and have to throw them out.

I have been trying out various recipes in the instant pot and I am happy with it. No instant pot? No worries. This simple chickpea curry can be made on the stovetop too.

Black chickpeas also known as “kala chana” are darker in colour and more meatier than the light coloured chickpeas, which makes them perfect for a filling vegetarian meal. They are rich in fibre, hence make you feel full for longer, and help prevent constipation. They are full of antioxidants, as well as folate and magnesium, low in fat and rich in iron among other benefits.

This simple dish can be had as a side or a main meal with rice or chapati along with a salad and other vegetables. Let’s get started.

Ingredients:-

  1. 1 1/2 cups soaked brown chickpeas
  2. I chopped onion
  3. 1 tbsp cooking oil
  4. 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
  5. 1 chopped tomato and some tomato paste
  6. Spices: 1 tsp cumin seeds, 1 bay leaf, 1/4 tsp turmeric, and 1 tsp dhana jeera powder and garam masala
  7. Salt and pepper
  8. Chopped coriander leaves and freshly squeezed lemon juice to garnish.

Method.

Switch on your instant pot and select the Sauté function.
Once hot, add a tbsp of cooking oil, followed by the bay leaf and a teaspoon of cumin seeds, then add onion when the seeds begin to sputter.
Let the onion cook then add the ginger garlic paste. Mix well and let cook a bit before adding the ground spices. Mix again and add a splash of water to deglaze the pot.
Add tomato paste and tomatoes. Let cook a while.
Add the drained chickpeas and mix well into the masala.
Check seasoning then add 2 cups of water. The chickpeas do not absorb that much water, so too much water will not do. Cover the pot and cancel sauté function.
Select the bean/ chilli program on the instant pot. I left the keep warm option on too. Let it cook and let the pressure release naturally when done. Do not rush it with a quick pressure release.

Once done, uncover the cooker and add your chopped coriander leaves, squeeze a half lemon over it and an additional little sprinkle of garam masala will not hurt. Let sit a bit then serve.

I had mine with rice and a slice of avocado on the side.
You can also have it with chapati.

This curry is perfect for weeknights when you do not want to spend too much time cooking. It is healthy, tasty and filling and you can serve with a salad or avocado slice for added nutrition and colour.

If making it on the stovetop just soak your chickpeas overnight, rinse, drain and boil them before making the curry.

Definitely worth a try, isn’t it?