Borani Banjan – Afghan Eggplant With Yogurt Sauce

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    Recently I have noticed the similarities between Indian and Afghan food and not only food even the language is so similar. If you go to any Afghan restaurant and look at the menu, you will be surprised to see so many words that we commonly use in India. For example cinnamon is called dalchini, same as in Hindi. Raisins is kishmish, salt is namak. They have vegetable entrees listed as “tarkari”, which means vegetable in states like UP and Bihar in India.

    And other than the language the spices used are almost same, there’s turmeric, there’s cumin, there’s cinnamon, red chilli powder, cardamom and so on. No wonder the Afghan dishes always taste like home and thus it is also no wonder that I love Afghan food! : D Since it’s so closely related to Indian food, my taste buds relish it just like my own food.

    One of my favorite Afghan recipe is Borani Banjan, which is an eggplant dish with yogurt and lots of garlic & mint. I remember the first time I tasted this wonderful dish at an Afghan restaurant and instantly fell in love with it. I love eggplant and when you make it this delicious the love just doubles. I would like to mention here that my hubby who isn’t a great eggplant fan loves this dish and always orders it whenever we eat at an Afghan restaurant. So you can imagine, it must really be good.

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    This dish is made using the regular size eggplant and slicing it into pieces. I had few small eggplants in my refrigerator and I really wanted to make borani banjan so went ahead with these. If you have a medium sized eggplant, please use that. For this recipe eggplants are deep fried first and then cooked with a tomato sauce. Finally it’s topped with yogurt-garlic mixture and lots of dried mint. I have made this recipe before and that time around I shallow fried them. The next time I make Borani Banjan I will try and bake the eggplants. But traditionally they have to be deep fried.

    It’s tastes best with naan or kabuli pulao. I really wanted to make the kabuli pulao and even soaked rice for it but it just got cancelled out at the last minute (read – I got lazy).

    Check out my other favorite Afghan recipe, Dough -the yogurt drink which my hubby is pro at making.

     

    Method

    Cut the eggplants into thin slices. You can remove the outer covering of the eggplant if you want (I didn’t). Heat oil in a pan on medium flame. Once hot, add the eggplants slices and fry till they are golden brown in color. Do not over-fry it else the slices will become very soggy, you still want it little firm in the center. Repeat the process with all the eggplants slices and place them on a kitchen towel to drain excess oil. Set aside.

    In another pan, heat 2-3 teaspoon of oil and add chopped garlic to it. Saute till it become light golden brown in color.

    Borani-Banjan-Recipe-Step-1-notitle-cwm

    Add the tomatoes, turmeric powder, cayenne pepper, salt and cook till tomatoes become soft and mushy. This will take 6-7 minutes. Now add the fried eggplants, around 1/4 cup of water and cover and cook at low heat for around 10 minutes.

    Borani-Banjan-Recipe-Step-2-notitle-cwm

    Sorry for no recipe step pictures after this : (. I got busy with something and forgot to click the pictures.

    So while the eggplant is simmering, take yogurt in a bowl and whisk it. Add grated garlic to it and mix. The yogurt used should be cold, if not you can mix yogurt and garlic beforehand and put it in the fridge to chill.

    To assemble this recipe, take a plate and put the yogurt sauce first. Then place the tomato sauce and eggplants over it and finally put some more yogurt sauce on top of the eggplants and sprinkle lots of dried mint. You can also sprinkle some cayenne pepper on top but that’s optional.

    Serve with kabuli pulao or pita bread/naan.

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    * Adjust spice level to taste, you can add more or less of cayenne pepper depending how spicy you want to eggplants to be.

    * Don’t forget to use cold yogurt for making the yogurt sauce.

    * You can shallow fry the eggplants or even bake them for healthier version.

    * Do not over-fry the eggplants, you want them to be little firm in the center.

    Borani Banjan - Afghan Eggplant With Yogurt Sauce

    Eggplants cooked with tomatoes. Served with yogurt-garlic sauce and topped with lots of dried mint. Traditional Afghan recipe.
    Cuisine Afghan
    Servings: 2
    Calories: 461 kcal
    Author: Manali
    5 from 1 vote
    Print

    Ingredients

    • 6 small eggplants
    • 2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
    • 3 medium tomatoes, chopped
    • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
    • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional
    • ¼ cup water
    • oil, to fry the eggplants
    • salt, to taste

    Yogurt sauce

    • 1 cup yogurt, greek or plain
    • 1 teaspoon grated garlic
    • dried mint, to sprinkle

    Instructions

    Yogurt sauce

    1. Take yogurt in a bowl and whisk it. Add grated garlic to it and mix. Keep it in the fridge while you cook the eggplants.

    Borani Banjan

    1. Cut the eggplants into thin slices. You can remove the outer covering of the eggplant if you want.
    2. Heat oil in a pan on medium flame. Once hot, add the eggplants slices and fry till they are golden brown in color. Do not over-fry it else the slices will become very soggy, you still want it little firm in the center.
    3. Place the eggplants slices on a kitchen towel to drain excess oil. Set aside.
    4. In another pan, heat 2-3 teaspoon of oil and add chopped garlic to it. Saute till it become light golden brown in color.
    5. In another pan, heat 2-3 teaspoon of oil and add chopped garlic to it. Saute till it become light golden brown in color.
    6. Add the tomatoes, turmeric powder, cayenne pepper, salt and cook till tomatoes become soft and mushy. This will take 6-7 minutes.
    7. Next add the fried eggplants, around 1/4 cup of water and cover and cook at low heat for around 10 minutes.Switch off the flame.
    8. To serve, take a plate and put half of the yogurt sauce. Then place the tomato sauce and eggplants over it and finally pour the remaining yogurt sauce on top of the eggplants and sprinkle lots of dried mint.
    9. Serve with kabuli pulao, pita bread or naan.
    Nutrition Facts
    Borani Banjan - Afghan Eggplant With Yogurt Sauce
    Amount Per Serving
    Calories 461 Calories from Fat 54
    % Daily Value*
    Total Fat 6g 9%
    Saturated Fat 3g 15%
    Cholesterol 15mg 5%
    Sodium 95mg 4%
    Potassium 3773mg 108%
    Total Carbohydrates 95g 32%
    Dietary Fiber 43g 172%
    Sugars 59g
    Protein 19g 38%
    Vitamin A 41.6%
    Vitamin C 70.1%
    Calcium 29.6%
    Iron 20.9%
    * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

     Borani Banjan – Afghan Eggplant Dish

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    18 thoughts on “Borani Banjan – Afghan Eggplant With Yogurt Sauce

    1. Dear Manali,
      Not a bad first attempt at one of our family’s favourites. Well done.
      BTW, the similarities come because of the centuries old cross pollination in the region. The most famous Afghan (not Afghanistani) gift to Indian food is the Tandoor and all things Tandoori.
      Try the Afghan Bolani with Chai Sabz sometime. Wonderful stuffed fried bread, like parathas, only miles tastier. And Green leaf tea.
      Bon Appetit.

      1. Hi Zia,
        Thank you so much for dropping by and also for the wonderful feedback. I am obviously not an expert in Afghan food but it’s so delicious that I couldn’t resist myself from trying my hands on it 🙂 I’m glad to know that I didn’t score a zero ha ha! Thanks for all the information, it’s amazing to know about different cultures and study their similarities. I will definitely try Afghan Bolani, if it tastes better then paratha than I gotta try it soon! Have a great day!

    2. Hello Manali
      Greatly done the borani banjan is one of simple yet delicate recipe but the taste is beyond comparison since only vegetables like eggplant , tomatoes and herbs like mint and garlic are used it really enhances the flavour when added with yogurt sauce.
      Not to mention that this dish can be enjoyed stand alone with fresh naan but also takes the taste of qabuli palao to new level
      Just like to mention we use a yogurt sauce called ” labneh ” available at most supermarkets it’s very thick and low in fat and does not break down when u serve it hot
      Give it a try and see the difference I am sure you will like it.
      No afghan dinner party is complete without this dish yum yum yum…..
      Thanks
      Zabi surrey bc canada

      1. Hello Zabi, thanks for your wonderful comment! 🙂 You are absolutely correct, banjan borani tastes amazing as it is or with naan/pulao. It’s my favorite way to eat eggplant! And I have tried “labneh” in a afghan restaurant and really liked it…will definitely use it the next time I make banjan! Thanks so much for that tip! Take care..

    3. Hi!
      I had an eggplant dip in a Afghan restaurant the other day and I was absolutely addicted and set out to find the recipe since! Thanks for your recipe, this will give me lots of inspiration to make my next eggplant dip!

    4. Have enjoyed cooking this delightful meal. I liked the simplicity and the garlic yoghurt makes it a wonderful warming winter meal. A big thankyou.

    5. Hello,
      is there a way to steam the eggplant instead of frying?
      That´s how i have tried it in a delicious afghan restaurant…
      Many thanks

      Karina

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