Kashk-o Bademjan (Eggplant Dip With Kashk) on a table in a Studio
(Laura Chase de Formigny for The Washington Post/food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post)
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Kashk-o Bademjan (Eggplant Dip With Kashk)

Kashk-o bademjan is a beloved Iranian dip that seduces even the most ardent eggplant skeptics. Firm Japanese or Chinese eggplants are used here because they have fewer seeds and are less bitter. You can either fry or roast the eggplant; the version below relies on roasting. (See VARIATION for frying instructions.) Keep the tops of the eggplant on while roasting to prevent them from drying out. The garnishes are as essential to the dish as the main ingredient, so don’t skip them. Please note that fresh mint cannot be substituted for dried mint for the na’na dagh.

Serve kashk-o bademjan with a flatbread, such as sangak or lavash, for dipping and eat it as an appetizer, or a light lunch or dinner.

Make your own kashk or buy it. Keep in mind that jarred kashk is saltier than homemade, so hold off on extra salt until after you’ve added the kashk. You can substitute Greek yogurt or sour cream for the kashk and adjust seasoning accordingly.

Leftovers can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Kashk is available online or at Middle Eastern markets.

The piaz dagh, seer dagh and na’an dagh can be refrigerated for up to 1 week or wrapped tightly and frozen for up to 3 months.

Food writer and cookbook author Naz Deravian.


measuring cup
Servings: 6-8 as an appetizer

For the eggplant

  • 2 pounds large Chinese or Japanese eggplants (about 4 total)
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or grapeseed oil, divided, plus more as needed
  • 1 medium yellow onion (7 to 8 ounces), finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup water, plus more as needed

For the piaz, seer and na’na dagh

  • 1 large yellow onion (11 to 12 ounces)
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or grapeseed oil, plus more as needed
  • Kosher salt (optional)
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground turmeric (optional)
  • 4 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons dried mint

For assembly

  • 4 tablespoons liquid kashk, divided, plus more as needed
  • Kosher salt
  • Roughly chopped raw walnuts, for garnish (optional)


Time Icon Total: 1 hour
  1. Step 1

    Make the eggplant: Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 450 degrees. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

  2. Step 2

    Trim the leaves of the eggplant but keep the green stem top on. Peel the eggplant and cut it in half lengthwise. (If the eggplant is very long, cut it in half lengthwise, then crosswise.)

  3. Step 3

    Place the eggplant halves flesh side up on the prepared baking sheet and carefully score the eggplant in a crosshatch pattern, taking care not to pierce through. This helps the oil seep into the flesh. Brush the eggplant with 1/4 cup of the oil. Use more if necessary, as eggplant absorbs a lot of oil. Sprinkle each half with salt and roast the eggplant for about 18 minutes, or until golden brown and softened but not completely cooked through. Slice off and discard the tops of the eggplant, and set aside.

  4. Step 4

    In a large pan with a lid over medium heat, heat 2 tablespoons of oil until shimmering. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle with a little salt, reduce the heat to medium-low, add the garlic and cook until it softens, about 5 minutes.

  5. Step 5

    Add the roasted eggplant to the onion-garlic mixture and sprinkle on 1/2 teaspoon of salt, the turmeric and pepper. Add enough water to reach halfway up the eggplant. Increase the heat to medium and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the eggplant has completely softened and cooked through and the water has been absorbed, about 20 minutes. Add a little more water if the eggplant needs longer to cook. If the eggplant is cooked through but excess liquid remains, remove the lid to cook off the liquid.

  6. Step 6

    While the eggplant cooks, you can prepare the piaz, seer and na’na dagh garnishes.

  7. Step 7

    To make the piaz dagh (fried onion), line a large plate with a paper towel.

  8. Step 8

    Quarter the onion, then slice it into 1/4-inch slices, breaking it up into individual slivers. Set aside any tiny pieces for another use, as they will burn.

  9. Step 9

    In a 10-inch pan over medium-high heat, heat the oil until hot but not smoking. Add the onion and spread evenly across the pan; the onion should be shallow-frying in the oil. If not, add more oil as needed. Do not stir the onion for the first 5 minutes of cooking, or it will sweat instead of crisp up. Thinner or smaller pieces on the edges of the pan will fry and turn color faster than the pieces in the center.

  10. Step 10

    When the onion starts to brown, reduce the heat to medium and stir. Season lightly with salt and continue cooking, stirring constantly now — and adjusting the heat as needed — to keep the onion from burning, until golden brown and crisped here and there, about 8 minutes. Keep in mind that the onion will continue to cook and darken off the heat, so turn off the heat just before you have reached the desired shade of golden brown or auburn. If the pan gets too dry, add a little more oil. You don’t want the onion to burn, but you also don’t want it to be mushy. Just before removing the onion from the heat, add the turmeric and stir for 20 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the onions in a single layer to the prepared plate. You should get about 1/2 cup.

  11. Step 11

    There should be about 1/4 cup of oil left in the pan. Use it for the seer dagh (fried garlic) and na’nadagh (fried dried mint).

  12. Step 12

    To make the seer dagh, line a small plate with a paper towel.

  13. Step 13

    Return the pan to medium heat, and heat the oil until shimmering. Add the garlic slices, reduce the heat to medium-low and fry, stirring frequently, until golden, about 5 minutes. Keep in mind that the garlic slices will keep crisping and turning color off the heat, so remove them just before you think they’re done. Keep a close eye on the garlic at all times; garlic can burn quickly and turn bitter. Tilt the pan to one side so the oil pools and the garlic can cook evenly.

  14. Step 14

    Transfer the garlic slices to the prepared plate. You should get about 2 tablespoons.

  15. Step 15

    There should be about 3 tablespoons of oil left in the pan — use it for the na’na dagh (fried dried mint).

  16. Step 16

    Return the saucepan to medium-low heat, and heat the oil for a few seconds. Keep in mind that your pan and the oil are already hot. Add the mint, stirring quickly for 10 seconds, and remove from the heat. Dried mint burns quickly and turns bitter. You can drizzle in more oil as you like for a thinner consistency. Transfer to a small bowl and use as needed. You should get about 1/4 cup.

  17. Step 17

    Assemble the dish: Once the eggplant has softened, turn off the heat and, using the back of a wooden spoon or potato masher, mash the eggplant until the mixture is well combined, a little stretchy and no chunks remain.

  18. Step 18

    Stir in 3 tablespoons of kashk and 2 teaspoons of the na’na dagh (fried mint) to combine. Taste, and add more kashk, if desired. Season lightly with salt, then stir and taste again; adjust the kashk and salt as needed until you get the balance of flavors you like.

  19. Step 19

    In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 1 tablespoon of kashk with a little water, so it’s thin enough for drizzling (if you want a generous drizzle, use more kashk and water). Drizzle on the kashk, top with as much piaz dagh (fried onion) and seer dagh (fried garlic) as you like. Follow with chopped walnuts, if using, then drizzle on about 2 teaspoons of the na’na dagh (fried mint). Serve warm or at room temperature.

  20. Step 20

    VARIATION: To fry the eggplant: Line a large rimmed baking sheet with paper towels.

  21. Step 21

    Follow the trimming/cutting of the eggplant as outlined above, but no need to score it.

  22. Step 22

    In a large pan with a lid over high heat, heat the 1/4 cup of oil until shimmering. Working in batches, if needed, add the eggplant in one layer, cover and fry on all sides until golden brown and softened but not cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes per side, adding more oil as needed. Keep a close eye on the eggplant and turn it often, as it can burn quickly. Take care when removing the lid as the oil can pop. Transfer the eggplant to the prepared baking sheet, then slice off and discard the tops.

Food writer and cookbook author Naz Deravian.

Tested by Jim Webster

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