Chef Iryna Tarasenko of Keipi in Greenville, South Carolina shares a recipe for badrijani: eggplant rolls with walnut filling. This traditional Georgian (Republic of Georgia) dish features baked eggplant with a savory filling of walnuts, herbs, and spices, topped with tart pomegranate seeds. Meant to be shared across a table, these chilled, colorful eggplant rolls are reminiscent of the Keipi’s celebratory nature.
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon coarse salt
3 whole medium-sized eggplants*
2 tablespoons olive oil for brushing, plus another 2 teaspoons for sautéing
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 3⁄4 cups walnut pieces
3 garlic cloves, peeled
1⁄4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 teaspoons blue fenugreek
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt
1⁄4 cup fresh pomegranate arils
Cilantro leaves and more pomegranate arils for garnish
*Note: The larger the eggplant, the more seeds you will be contending with. A medium-sized eggplant with fewer seeds will make the roll sturdier.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Mix chili powder and coarse salt in a small bowl.
- Using a mandolin slicer (or sharp knife), trim eggplants and cut length- wise to a thickness of 3⁄8 to 5⁄8 of an inch. (This should yield about 14 to 16 slices.) Lay eggplant slices on a baking sheet and brush each side with olive oil. Sprinkle evenly with salt-chili powder blend and bake on a center rack for 9 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
- While eggplant cools, in a medium pan sauté onion in 2 teaspoons olive oil until soft and translucent.
- In a food processor, combine sautéed onion, walnut pieces, garlic, cilantro, blue fenugreek, vinegar,1⁄4 cup warm water, and kosher salt. Blend until smooth. By hand, fold pomegranate seeds into blended walnut-garlic spread.
- On one side of each cooled eggplant slice, spread a thin layer (approximately 1⁄8 inch) of the filling, then roll slice into a cylinder. Chill badrijani for 20 to 30 minutes, then garnish with a cilantro leaf and a few pomegranate arils and serve.
Recipe ByIryna Tarasenko of Keipi in Greenville, South Carolina