My first encounter ever with Afghani Burani Bonjon or shall I describe it with more familiar words: Aubergine braised in spicy tomato sauce and then smothered with Seer Moss - GarlicYogurt sauce was in my early days of blogging through a now sadly defunct blog called The Culinary Adventures of a Confessed Shakamboo, I was curious about it at the time as I was not that familiar with Afghanistan cuisine, but at the same time somewhat dismissed it as I was not overly keen on aubergines aka eggplant a key ingredient for the recipe. A few years fast forward I was once again reacquainted with Burani Bonjon whilst flicking through the Canadian Living: The Vegetarian Collection and most recently in Veggiestan.
Well this time I just had to make this dish, especially as I have begun appreciating aubergines a lot more. For those of you on a diet, I must forewarn you that this is not a low in fat meal at all, it is very rich and quite sublime. You all know what aubergines are like sponges and suck up oil effortlessly. Its also not the prettiest dish hence I sprinkled it with edible flowers, chive flowers and coriander. I brought it to the table served my Fair TradeTierra Negra Round Saute dish, but a serving platter would do fine too.
D really loved it. The cooling aspect of the yogurt next to the warm and rich aubergine slices is just divine. I have to say, the Aubergine braised in spicy tomato sauce would also be most excellent stirred through pasta.
D has already asked me to make it again, I think I will but I will try it with marrow or maybe the with the courgettes that are beginning to from come from my garden. *This main component of this recipe is vegan. The Garlic Yogurt can obviously be substituted with a vegan alternative.
Afghani Burani Bonjon
Serves 6 with rice
2 large aubergines
60ml sunflower oil plus 2 - 3 tablespoons
1 onion, finely sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 green chillies, minced
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 x 400g tinned tomatoes, crushed or chopped (or 4-5 large tomatoes, chopped)
2 tablespoon tomato paste
Salt to taste
Good handful of fresh coriander, chopped plus extra for garnish
Remove the stalk and slice the aubergines into 1/2 inch thick slices.
Using a brush, coat the aubergine rounds with the oil and layer in a single layer onto a baking tray lined with baking parchment paper or foil.
Bake in the oven for 10 - 15 minutes or until soft and cooked, ensure that you flip them over half way through.
While the aubergines are in the oven, heat 2 - 3 tablespoons oil in a wide pan, and add the onion until beginning to soften, then stir in the garlic, chillies and turmeric. When these are beginning to soften, stir in the crushed or chopped tinned tomatoes, tomato paste, coriander and season to taste.
Add a little water to the pan and bring to the boil.
Reduce the heat, put the lid on and simmer until the sauce begins to thicken. After 15 minutes, carefully transfer the baked aubergine slices into the tomato sauce base, then allow to cook on for a further 15 minutes, or until it is quite thick. Tweak and adjust seasoning if necessary.
Now make the Yogurt Sauce
For the Seer Moss - Garlic Yogurt Sauce*
300ml natural yogurt*
4 garlic cloves, crushed or minced
2 teaspoons dried mint (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
In a large bowl, stir the ingredients well and allow to sit for the flavours to mingle.
To assemble the dish
Serve with steamed or boiled Basmati rice.
On a large serving tray, first place the rice at the centre, then carefully and quickly start layering the aubergines with the spicy tomato sauce on top, continue this until all are used up.
Then dollop over here ad there the minty garlic yogurt.
Scatter with optional fresh coriander and serve immediately.