This Borani Banjan recipe (Afghan Eggplant with Garlic Yogurt Sauce) is a richly spiced stewed eggplant dish that’s served with tangy garlicky yogurt on top.
When I lived in the DC area, there was an Afghani restaurant about 5 minutes away that had the best eggplant. It was a simple side dish, often overlooked by the more popular sides like bread and rice.
(Let me pause for a minute to say, if you’ve never tried Afghani bread, you’ve been missing out! It’s similar to Indian naan, but a bit thicker and chewier. Like Indian naan, it contains yogurt and is also baked in a tandoor oven. It’s aromatic and soft and soooo good!)
Anyway, because I like to eat low carb as much as possible, I usually opted for the eggplant. It wasn’t even a hard choice, given how delicious Afghan eggplant is!
I asked the owner for the recipe, but he told me that he buys it pre-made every day from an old woman from Afghanistan. With a shrug and a smile, he said “she just calls it eggplant”.
Then he looked pensive and said “I know there’s olive oil in it too!” I laughed and thanked him, because yes, it was quite apparent that there was a good deal of olive oil in it.
That left me with a mission to come with the recipe!
Borani Banjan Recipe
You can find this recipe transliterated as Borani Banjan or Bourani Banjan. My version is based on a rendition I used to order from an Afghani restaurant in the DC area when I lived there. However, there are also Pakistani, Turkish, Persian, and Armenian versions of this dish.
Borani Banjan is a richly spiced stewed eggplant dish with layers of flavor that blend together well. It’s served with a garlicky yogurt on top, which adds creaminess and tangy to perfectly offset the complexity of the eggplant.
This dish makes a wonderful side dish, or you can serve it as a vegetarian light summer meal.
Borani Banjan in the Oven
Making this recipe is usually a multi-step process:
- Bake the eggplant in the oven, or alternatively, fry it on the stovetop.
- Sauté the garlic and spices.
- Layer everything together (the eggplant, garlic/spices, tomatoes, and/or other vegetables), and then bake it again.
The end result is a flavorful stewed eggplant dish that’s much more delicious than the sum of its parts.
However, I have an easier way to make Afghan Eggplant – in an electric pressure cooker! And best of all, it doesn’t sacrifice the flavor.
Instant Pot Afghan Eggplant
I like to use an electric pressure cooker to make Borani Banjan. It not only speeds up, but also simplifies the process. And bonus, the only dish that you’ll need to clean is the inside of the Instant Pot!
More Eggplant Recipes to Try:
- Sicilian Eggplant Relish (Caponata)
- Easy Fried Eggplant
- Low Carb Moussaka (Greek Beef Eggplant Casserole)
- Stuffed Eggplant
- Thai Eggplant Tempura
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Borani Banjan Recipe (Afghan Eggplant with Garlic Yogurt Sauce)
- 1 1/2 pounds eggplant diced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 large onion
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil divided
- 6 large cloves garlic crushed
- 1 jalapeno minced
- 1 green bell pepper cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 tomato diced, with juices
- 1/3 cup vegetable stock
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon hot red chilli powder optional
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
For the Eggplant:
- Add the diced eggplant and salt to a large bowl and let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes while you chop the other vegetables.
- For the onion, dice half of it, and chop the other half into large pieces.
- Turn the electric pressure cooker on, press “Sauté”, and wait 2 minutes for the pot to heat up. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil and once hot, add all the onion and cook until starting to soften, about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the garlic and jalapeno, and cook 1 minute more. Press “Cancel” to stop sautéing.
- Stir in the rest of the olive oil, the green bell pepper, tomato (with juices), vegetable stock, turmeric, chilli powder, black pepper, and tomato paste.
- Put the diced eggplant in a fine mesh sieve and rinse it under cool running water. Gently squeeze out the excess liquid. Transfer the eggplant to the pot of the electric pressure cooker with the other vegetables and give it a stir to combine.
- Turn the pot on Manual, High Pressure for 5 minutes, and then let the pressure naturally release for 10 minutes before doing a quick release.
- Give it a good stir. Taste and add salt if desired.
For the Garlicky Yogurt:
- Whisk together the yogurt, garlic, and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk in enough water so the mixture is pourable, but not too watery.
- Transfer the eggplant mixture to a serving dish. Drizzle the yogurt on top. Sprinkle on the dried mint and hot red chile powder. Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.
- Net Carbs: 5g per serving
- This recipe yields about 6 cups of eggplant, or about 10 servings. Each serving is a slightly heaping 1/2 cup.
- You can make this recipe up to 5 days ahead of time and store it covered in the fridge until serving. Reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave.
- To make this paleo, omit the Garlicky Yogurt.
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