Over 30 years ago, I met Mitra, a beautiful young woman from Iran. We became friends quickly and we’ve experienced so much of life together ever since. The beautiful thing about the Persian community is the timeless culture they have preserved away from their Iranian homeland.
From an age-old language, Farsi, to enduring traditions, like their Persian New Year called "Nowruz", and of course, the distinct aromatic flavors that make Persian cuisine one of the best in the world. I admire it all and I have loved experiencing this world through the eyes of Mitra and all of my beautiful Persian friends.
When it comes to Persian food, my recent favorite recipe of Mitra’s is her irresistible Eggplant Khoresht, a traditional Persian stew made with eggplant, tomato, onion, and a choice of meats including chicken, beef, or lamb. “Khoresh" or, as some spell it, “Khoresht,” is a Persian word meaning “stew dish.”
The combination of eggplant, tomatoes, chicken, and a unique blend of spices, makes this dish so uniquely delicious that, like me, you may want to make it again and again. In my home, I have two picky eaters by the names of Isabella and Ignacia. Isabella is my youngest of three, and Ignacia is my exchange student from Chile. They would both agree that the idea of eating anything with eggplant makes them want to run for the hills. However, there is an exception to every rule and Eggplant Khoresh is that exception.
I’m about to confess here so humor me. I recently made Mitra’s Eggplant Khoresht and didn’t tell the girls what was in the dish. Because it’s a stew, the ingredients tend to cook together enough to make the eggplant a bit more unrecognizable once sliced and spooned onto a plate.
After one bite, they both loved it! It wasn’t until they were halfway through devouring this mouthwatering dish that Ignacia inquired about the unfamiliar vegetable on her plate. The surprised look on both of their faces - once they realized that eggplant is quite delicious - was priceless. Although Persian cuisine includes an endless selection of unforgettable dishes, Mitra’s Eggplant Khoresht is at the top of my list of favorites.
If you've never tried your hand at making Persian food before, this is an excellent place to start. The good news is, it doesn't take a culinary degree to accomplish this exotic dish. And, just like the distinct beauty of the Persian culture that has a rich history to share with the world, this genre of food will broaden your pallet, introduce you to new flavors, and create a delightfully memorable experience that your entire family will enjoy.