It's Sooo Good! | Babenjan (Sweet and Sour Eggplant Stew)

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It's sooo good! > Recipes > Babenjan (Sweet & Sour Eggplant stew)

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Babenjan (Sweet & Sour Eggplant stew)

I'll tell you what you can put there :
  • 6-10 japanese eggplants
  • 1 16oz can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 Tbs lemon juice (or citric acid)
  • Sugar or sweetener to taste
  • Olive oil for frying
  • 1 stick lemongrass and/or 2 kefir lime leaves (optional)
  • Spices: cinnamon, turmeric, black pepper, salt, etc. to taste
Click to enlarge
Persian eggplant stew
Babenjan is the Arabic word for eggplant, and makes a delicious stew. Try This recipe serves 3-4 people.

I'll tell you what you can do :

This is a delicious stew, not unlike the bamia dish. However, the whole tomatoes and turmeric give it a different flavor and consistency altogether.

In a large pot sauté the onions and garlic in olive oil. Cook until yellow. Add salt, pinch black pepper, 1-2 teaspoons of turmeric, and 2 teaspoons of cinnamon. Stir, and now add the tomatoes. The best canned tomatoes, by the way, always come from Italy. If you can get San Marzano tomatoes (available at Whole Foods and other nice supermarkets), it tastes that much better! If you happen to have lemongrass and kefir lime leaves on hand, toss them in. They will really bring out a much more fragrant lemon flavor to the dish.

Cover and let simmer for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large frying pan, using as much oil as necessary to fry the eggplants, flipping once. If you use a larger kind of eggplant, you'll have to cut them in slices first. This is another reason why the Japanese eggplants work really well in this recipe. Remove the browned eggplants from the pan and add a little sea salt.

Once your tomato stew has simmered for 15 minutes or so, add lemon and sugar to taste— as sweet and sour as you like! Place the cooked eggplant into your tomato stew and cover and simmer for 15 more minutes to let the spices soak in.

You can enjoy this stew as a main dish or as a starter soup. Garnish with cilantro for a special touch!


There are lots of eggplants (or aubergines for you Brits) out there and many ways to cook them. I think the Japanese ones, which are small and flavorful, work best. However, you can use any kind you have available. Also, it is not absolutely necessary to fry the eggplant, although you do need to cook it in some way before adding it to simmer in the stew. For a healthier option, try roasting them or place them on the BBQ!

Best of luck,


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