Without a doubt, Halim Bademjan is the flagship of all Isfahan local foods. In past it was known as a feast dish and it is cooked in various ways throughout the country.
The ingredients are meat, rice, white beans, eggplant, Kashk, Nana Dagh (mint and oil), salt and pepper.
Recipe for Halim Bademjan
To begin, peel washed eggplants and slice or cut them lengthwise. Soak the eggplants in salt water for an hour to remove the bitterness. Wash the rice and soak it. Peel and chop an onion in ideal shape and saute it. Add large-diced meat and saute it with onion till the color changes. Add turmeric, pepper and cinnamon and some water to the meat and allow it to cook completely which takes about 2 hours or longer. Add some salt at the end. Meanwhile, drain the eggplants and dry it with a clean napkin. Fry the eggplants in oil. You can either fry or roast. Then, put them in a pot and cook it with a little water on medium flame.
After cooking, if there was still water in the pot, separate it and smash the eggplant with a mixer or masher. When the meat cooked and chilled, shave it. Now mix eggplant and meat. Cook rice with the broth. If you’re out of broth, use water. Rice should cook properly and the water should thicken, just like when you cook Shole Zard. You shouldn’t stir the rice after boiling till it’s fully cooked to prevent singe. After the squashed rice is ready, smash it again with an electric or manual smasher and mix it with eggplant and meat. Fry the remain of onions and add half a teaspoon of turmeric. Keep half the onions for decoration and add the rest to the mix. Heat 2 tablespoons oil and add dried mint with half a tablespoon of turmeric and garlic powder to the oil. Notice that dried mint burns quickly and will taste bitterly, a slight frying is enough. Add half of Nana Dagh (the mint mixture you just made) into the eggplant mixture and save the half for decoration. If your food is still uneven, mix it with a manual or electric smasher. If your mixture is very solid, add about ½ cup or less broth or boiling water.
Then let the mixture stay on low heat for half an hour until it’s done. Then add the saffron you have dissolved in some boiling water and stir the ingredients until the material has been mixed and boil once or twice. To liquefy Kashk, add half a glass of hot broth or boiling water. You can heat Kashk for about 10 minutes, then add it at the end of the process. During this time, you have to stir the eggplant mixture for about 10 to 15 minutes. Check salt and pepper. You can also use about 1 tablespoon chopped walnut for the inside.