Borani Banjan & All The Global Variations:
Borani Banjan is an Afghani classic side dish of layered eggplants, yogurt and tomatoes. Eggplant and yogurt combination is enjoyed in many parts of the world from the Mediterranean region to the Indian subcontinent with many variations in the recipe. In Iran, Pakistan and India a very similar dip is made with roasted eggplant, called Borani Bademjan or Baingan ka Raita. The Turkish version of Borani is enriched with beans and bulgur. In Kurdish cuisine it’s called boranîk. A close similar is known as alborania in Spainand served as a starter – probably an influence from Andalus period. Borani is also associated with Jewish-Persian cuisine because it does not contain meat ( meat and dairy cannot be mixed in Jewish cuisine). In Iran, you will find borani served as a side dish very frequently on the Shavuot, Easter or Hanukkah festivals
I’ve been enjoying this delicious dish since my childhood, without giving a moment’s thought to how it landed in my Punjabi family. My mother used to make Borani Banjan very frequently in summer. A traditional recipe passed on from her Afghani ancestors, that got assimilated into the local cuisine as they migrated to India many many years ago . It’s amazing that something so simple with so few ingredients can have oodles of flavor and such far reaching connections!
What Is Borani? How Borani Banjan Became Quintessentially Afghani:
According to some Persian scholars, the word “borani” comes from the Sassanid Empire which was the last Persian dynasty before the Muslim conquest in the mid 7th century AD. It would have evolved into porani and then borani. However, others disagree and believe the name borani comes from a queen of Iran named Boran, the first woman to have reigned in Persia. While Encyclopædia Iranica states that the name Borani comes from the Iranian poet Boran, founder of the Abassid period. Regardless of the origins of the name, most Persian chefs believe that any dish with garlic and yogurt is called borani.
Now Afghan cuisine is mainly influenced by that of Persia, India and Mongolia. But Afghan cuisine has a style of it’s own. Afghans like their food neither too hot nor too spicy. The use of yogurt is frequent as a dressing, topping or side – kind of like the Italians use cheese. Borani Banjan is quintessentially Afghani. Some recipes use grilled eggplants, some broiled and others pan-fried. Some are heavily sauced, while some let the main ingredient shine more. No matter what the method, yogurt and eggplant compliment each other in a big way.
How to Serve Borani
Traditionally, Borani is eaten cold with bread that is dipped directly into the preparation. Well, I grew up eating it as a simple summer side dish for lentils or whatever main was cooked at home. Cool yogurt sides were and still are an essential part of summer menu at our place. They make the meal feel lighter and keep the thirst at bay for longer. It can be great served as a starter or as part of mezze platter. I love to eat it all on it’s own for a light, healthy and carbs free lunch. But whenever I cook up a full fledged Afghan feast, it pairs beautifully with Kabuli Pulao and Namkeen Gosht.
If You Like This Recipe, Also Check
- Kabuli Pulao
- Borani Esfanaaj, Spinach Yogurt Dip
- Namkeen Gosht, Lamb Joint in Salt
- Afghani Bolani Bread
- 1 large eggplant
- 2 cups yogurt
- 3 table spoons ghee or cooking oil
- 1 large tomato, diced
- 1 teaspoon tomato paste (optional for vibrant color)
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon red chilli flakes or to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
- Mint leaves and green chilli pepper for garnishing
This Is What You Do:
Cut the eggplant into round slices, almost 1/4 inch thick. Sprinkle the slices with 1/4 teaspoon salt and leave for 5-7 minutes to sweat. Wash and drain.
Grease a medium frying pan or grill with 2 table spoons of oil. Toast the eggplant pieces on low heat till tender inside and crispy, golden brown on both sides.
Arrange them in a deep platter, overlapping each other slightly.
In another bowl mix black pepper and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt into the yogurt, set aside.
Add the remaining 1 tablespoon ghee/oil to the pan, fry crushed garlic for 1 minute then add the cumin seeds and red chilli flakes and fry another few seconds.
Add tomato and a little sprinkling of water. Cook till the tomatoes are tender. Turn the heat off.
Pour the yogurt over eggplant slices.
Pour the tomato mixture over the top. Garnish with chopped mint and sliced green chilli.
Serve as a side with daal( lentils) or meat main.
30 Replies to “Borani Banjan, Eggplant In Yogurt Sauce”
I love Baigan in any form. Loved your recipe.Bookmarking it Maria.
This recipe of egg plant sounds so delicious. I love this veggie but never made this way.
Love eggplants in all form and this dip with eggplant and yogurt sounds amazing! Need to try it. Thanks for sharing 🙂
It looks divine. I love any curry/subzi with eggplant. We use eggplanta atleast once a week. Never tried this recipe before. I ll try this very soon. Thanks.
This baigan dish looks really yummy. Like the combination of yogurt and tomato gravy, over the slices. A healthy dish.
This dish sounds perfect for the summer…with some hot rice this tastes divine
I am always open to any eggplant recipes. I will try your version soon with my vegan curd!
Recently I had this dish in a Lebanese restaurant and I really wanted to create the same recipe at home, so my daughter prepared for me on Mother’s day to surprise me! Simply love it as I am jabra fan of Aubergine/eggplant 😀
Love to add yogurt in dishes particularly dese hot days. Awesome share maria 👌
Lipsmacking here, borani banjan looks ultimate and delightful to have with a bowl of rice. Looking absolutely inviting.
Maria you made Bengali simple begun bhaja exotic. So unique and delicious way to serve eggplant. Loved it.
Thank you dear Sujata! I’m a huge fan of Bengali cuisine. Even the simplest dishes have oodles of flavour. Glad you liked this eggplant recipe. 😊
This version sounds great to me.. Perfect and best comfort food. Looking very delicious and perfectly made.Thanks Maria for this great share..
Thank you, Jolly! It’s really appetizing and refreshing for a light summer lunch. 😊
Now this is a keeper of a recipe for a baingan lover like me. I pan fry them but have never added dahi. Will try this Maria!
I’m a baingan fan too! 😊 The yogurt, tomato masala and tarka really converts simple eggplant slices into a refreshing side dish. Hope you will enjoy.
Awesome ………such a quick and easy recipe and delicious too as eggplant is not everyone’s favourite.
Thank you for appreciating, Renu! I know poor eggplants don’t really have a big fan following but if cooked right, I think they are one of the tastiest of vegetables. 😊
I love this raita as fried baigan is my favourite.
Thank you, Shobha! Yes, it changes the entire flavour profile of fried baingan.
Love brinjals and curd both and this recipe sounds interesting have to try it soon.
A perfect summer treat….
It absolutely is, thank you Soma 🙂 I remember you have a Bengali version of this recipe too.
Zase výborný recept,lilek můžu jíst stále.Jen opékám bez tuku,olej stačí v česnekovo rajčatové směsi:-)
Thank you dear Olga! 🙂 Your appreciation means a lot to me! I’m so happy you like this simple and flavourful recipe. If you try, do tell me how it turned out 🙂
Have a great day!
awsam nd yammmmmyyyy dish:)maria ji….
Thank you my dear Ravindra 🙂 your appreciation means the world to me 🙂 xxxx
I love the fact that it’s not high in fat, Maria! That’s one of the problems with a lot of eggplant recipes because of the deep frying. Will definitely make this!
Thanks Azlin 🙂 I’m sure you will enjoy this 🙂