Badrijani - Grilled eggplants
Author Alice Zaslavsky
Putting a Georgian family feast together is a pretty serious business and everybody gets involved. Badrijani is actually one of dad’s responsibilities for such occasions and it was one of the first dishes that I used to help him prepare for family feasts. I loved monitoring the eggplant slices in the pan and flipping them when they were ready (sneaking a couple when no one was looking). You could say this was one of the catalysts for my love of food. Incidentally, it was also my first audition dish for Masterchef, so I guess it holds a lot of significance for me on many accounts.
INGREDIENTS2-3 Eggplants (avoid those with big seeds as they are older and tend to be bitter)
3-4 cloves of fresh garlic
Coriander leaves with stems
1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
Some ground fenugreek
Mild Madras curry (Keen’s from the supermarket works fine)
Some oil for brushing
Salt and Pepper, crushed or freshly ground
1. Slice the eggplants into circles and grill or pan-fry until golden brown (or, if using the oven, bake at 180 – just make sure you brush them with some oil from both sides, and take them out when they’re soft enough).
2. Crush garlic cloves with salt in a mortar & pestle.
3. Roughly cut coriander leaves and stems, add ground coriander seeds, madras curry and some extra ground fenugreek.
4. Mix everything with mayonnaise.
5. If needed, add extra salt and pepper.
6. Arrange pieces of cooled down eggplant on a plate and cover each one with sauce. Once you cover one layer, start the next layer on the top, until all covered. Finish with some more freshly picked coriander leaves.
Either make your own mayonnaise, or use real egg or any other, just make sure it’s not a sweet one. For those who’d prefer a lighter alternative, substitute the mayonnaise for vinegar or lemon juice, garnishing with freshly crushed walnuts. This dish can be prepared in advanced, especially if using vinegar topping, rather than mayonnaise.