Banjan Borani

A legendary Afghan dish of fried and stewed eggplants covered in a tomato sauce with yoghurt dressing. Fairly labour-intensive. The world-beating version is made by Parwana, an Afghan restaurant in Adelaide. It keeps very well and can be made several days in advance. This recipe also involves deep-frying, so it suits a large format. You can also shallow fry, but the flavour won’t be quite as rich – or the calories as intense!

I recommend making this for a feast a day or two ahead. You’ll be the talk of the potluck. 


  • Eggplants, peeled and halved lengthways (or quartered lengthways if using large European eggplant)
  • Neutral oil for deep-frying
  • Brown onion
  • Garlic
  • Ground coriander
  • Ground turmeric
  • Chilli, dried or fresh
  • White wine vinegar
  • White sugar
  • Tomatoes, fresh or tinned
  • Greek yoghurt, garlic, mint leaves & chilli powder for garnish


First, the sauce. Dice a large brown onion and a couple of cloves of garlic and sweat gently in olive oil until soft. Add the dried spices (coriander 2tsp, turmeric 1tsp, chilli 1tsp) and fry for a minute before adding two tins of tomatoes or about five fresh tomatoes. Season, keeping in mind you will reduce this sauce. Add a teaspoon of white sugar and a tiny splash of vinegar (white or white wine is best) for acidity and sweetness. Taste. This needs to simmer for about half an hour, depending on how thick you want your final sauce. 

Take small, Asian eggplant halves and fry in 180C neutral oil until starting to turn golden, about 5-10 minutes. You can use European eggplant quartered lengthways, too. If deep-frying, only fill your vessel halfway with oil, as eggplants contain a lot of moisture and will cause the oil to spatter quite violently.

The trick is to transfer your eggplant halves to the simmering tomato sauce early enough that there’s still enough liquid to finish cooking the eggplant but late enough that you will have a nice thick tomato sauce by the end. This part is quite forgiving and up to personal preference. 

The garnish – a yoghurt sauce – is simply unsweetened greek yoghurt with a minced clove of garlic. Transfer the eggplants to a serving dish and add a few spoonfuls of yoghurt, some torn mint and a sprinkling of chilli powder to finish. You can serve as-is or add fried shallots, browned butter or toasted pine nuts on top, depending on what you have available. 

You can keep the dish for several days in the fridge. Just gently reheat in a pot and add garnishes to serve.

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