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This Borani Banjan recipe (Afghan eggplant with garlic yogurt sauce) is a richly spiced stewed eggplant dish that’s served with tangy garlicky yogurt sauce on top.

naan in eggplant dip with yogurt sauce

When I lived in the DC area, there was an Afghan 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 Afghan 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!

close up front view of afghan eggplant dip with yogurt and spices

What is Borani Banjan?

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 Afghan 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 has just enough spice to be interesting, but it’s not spicy hot. It’s served with a garlicky yogurt on top, which adds creaminess and tanginess to perfectly offset the complexity of the eggplant. And the tomato and eggplant cook down to form a luscious sauce, so bread is the perfect accoutrement for soaking it up.

This Afghan eggplant dish makes a wonderful appetizer, side dish, or you can serve it as a vegetarian light summer meal. Of course it’s also perfect as part of a mezze platter paired with flatbread and other dips, salads, olives, etc.

Sometimes I like to top it with a couple poached eggs. Served like this, it’s reminiscent of both Turkish Eggs and Shakshuka!

close up top view of borani banjan eggplant dip

Borani Banjan Ingredients and Substitutions

Ingredients Explained

In this section I explain the ingredients and give substitution ideas where applicable. For the full recipe (including the ingredient amounts), see the recipe card below.

borani banjan ingredients with titles

Afghan Eggplant Dip Ingredients

  • Eggplant – This is the star of the show!
  • Salt – Before cooking, we salt the eggplant to draw out the moisture and reduce the eggplant’s bitterness. Then we rinse off the salt and squeeze out the excess liquid.
  • Onion – For savory depth of flavor.
  • Extra-virgin olive oil – Authentic Borani Banjan uses a generous amount of olive oil.
  • Garlic – For depth of flavor and aroma.
  • Jalapeño – This adds a touch of spicy heat for balance.
  • Green bell pepper – Pieces of sweet green bell pepper break up the sauciness of this eggplant dip.
  • Tomato – As this dish cooks, the tomato breaks down and forms a sauce.
  • Vegetable broth – Or you can use water or chicken stock.
  • Turmeric – Adds an earthy, peppery flavor and enhances the color.
  • Hot red chilli powder – For a little kick.
  • Black pepper – Adds a piquant bite for balance.
  • Tomato Paste – This is optional; it helps thicken the sauce.

Garlicky Yogurt:

  • Plain unsweetened yogurt – Traditional Borani Banjan is served with a yogurt-based sauce drizzled on top. The creamy texture and tangy flavor round out the dish perfectly. Or you can use plain unsweetened Greek yogurt and thin it out with water.
  • Garlic – For sharp flavor and aroma.
  • Salt – Salt is a natural flavor enhancer that elevates the flavor of everything else.
  • Water – You may or may not need a little water to thin out the sauce, which should have a slightly pourable consistency.
afghan eggplant recipe

How to Make Borani Banjan

You can make this recipe in the oven or using an electric pressure cooker to simplify the process.

No matter what cooking method you use, I recommend salting the eggplant before cooking to help reduce the bitterness that it can have.

salting eggplant

How to Salt Eggplant

  1. Toss together the eggplant and salt in a large bowl. Let it sit at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes. It will start to release its liquid.
  2. Put the eggplant in a fine mesh sieve and rinse it under cool running water. Gently squeeze out the excess liquid.
  3. Cook it as directed.

Borani Banjan in the Oven

Making this recipe is usually a multi-step process:

  1. Bake the eggplant in the oven, or alternatively, fry it on the stovetop.
  2. Sauté the garlic and spices.
  3. 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.

eggplant dip with yogurt sauce and afghan bread

Instant Pot Afghan Eggplant

I like to use an electric pressure cooker to make Borani Banjan. It speeds up and also simplifies the process.

And bonus, the only dish that you’ll need to clean is the inside of the Instant Pot!

Storage

Store this recipe in an airtight food storage container in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months.

Store the eggplant separate from the garlicky yogurt, and wait to add the yogurt until right before serving.

hand dipping flatbread into borani banjan

Tips

  • Salting the eggplant. Don’t skip the step of salting the eggplant, letting it sit, rinsing it, and gently squeezing out the excess liquid. This helps reduce the bitterness that eggplant can sometimes have.
  • Spice level. Feel free to adjust the level of spicy heat in this recipe. As written, it’s on the mild side of medium heat. You can add more or less jalapeño and more or less hot red chilli powder as desired.
  • Serving temperature. You can serve this Afghan eggplant dish warm or at room temperature, but the garlicky yogurt should be chilled.

More Eggplant Recipes to Try

top view of borani banjan spread with bread

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Borani Banjan Recipe (Afghan Eggplant with Garlic Yogurt Sauce)

5 from 3 votes
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Other Time20 minutes
Servings: 12 servings
This Borani Banjan recipe (Afghan eggplant with garlic yogurt sauce) is a richly spiced stewed eggplant dish that’s served with tangy garlicky yogurt sauce on top.

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Ingredients
 

Eggplant:

Garlicky Yogurt:

  • 1/2 cup plain unsweetened yogurt
  • 1 small clove garlic crushed
  • 1/16 teaspoon salt
  • Water if necessary to thin it out

Other:

Instructions
 

For the Eggplant:

  • Toss together the eggplant and salt in a large bowl. Let it sit at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes while you chop the other vegetables. It will start to release its liquid.
  • 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 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 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. It should have a thick stew-like consistency. If it needs thickening, turn the “Sauté” function on again and cook it for a couple minutes so that some of the liquid can evaporate off, stirring frequently. 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.

To Serve:

  • Transfer the eggplant mixture to a serving dish. Drizzle the yogurt on top. Sprinkle on the dried mint and hot red chilli powder. Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint.
  • Serve warm or at room temperature.

Video

Notes

  • Net Carbs: 5g per serving
  • Recipe Yield and Serving Size: This recipe yields about 6 cups, or 12 (1/2-cup) servings.
  • Storage and Reheating: 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. Store the eggplant separate from the garlicky yogurt, and wait to add the yogurt until right before serving.
  • Serving Temperature Tip: You can serve the eggplant warm or at room temperature, but the garlicky yogurt should be chilled.
  • Paleo Version: To make this paleo, omit the garlicky yogurt.
  • Vegan Version: Omit the yogurt sauce, or use vegan yogurt to make it.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.5cup | Calories: 87kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 358mg | Potassium: 241mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 225IU | Vitamin C: 14mg | Calcium: 27mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutritional information is automatically calculated and should be used as an approximate.

Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Afghan
Keyword: Afghan Eggplant, Borani Banjan, Borani Banjan Recipe, Bourani Banjan

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borani banjan pin

This post was first published on An Edible Mosaic on March 27, 2020 and updated on August 9, 2021.

Faith, author of An Edible Mosaic.
About Faith

I’m the writer, recipe developer, photographer, and food stylist behind this blog. I love finding the human connection through something we all do every day: eat! Food is a common ground that we can all relate to, and our tables tell a story. It’s my goal to inspire you to get in the kitchen, try something new, and find a favorite you didn’t know you had.

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Recipe Rating




3 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I love this so much! I make it about once a month.

  2. 5 stars
    I’m no cook by all means.
    But this recipe is easy and delicious 🤤
    I will be following this page from now on!
    Thank you

  3. 5 stars
    As an eggplant lover I have to say this is a great recipe. I spice it up a bit and love this dish over white rice or almond pilaf. I make my own thick yogurt and use it to make the garlicky topping. I spread it on top of the eggplant mix and then stick it in the oven for about half an hour. Simply glorious and gratifying!

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