Khoresh gheimeh (stew) bademjan (Eggplant) has been my favorite Persian dish ever since I was a little kid. It was always my birthday dinner request. I wish I would have learned to make it as a kid, but my mom’s cooking is impossible to beat.
Over the last few years, I’ve watched different people prepare the dish in their own way. Some use saffron to flavor the stew, others make it a tad bit spicy with red pepper. I love how different the dish turns out every time I have it and make it.
This classic Iranian dish invigorates the tastes buds with sweet, tangy and savory flavors. The combination of spices and ingredients are truly unique and unlike any other cuisine. Tomatoes, dried lime, cinnamon & turmeric are all flavors one would never expect to blend so well together.
This recipe is versatile for any diet- Make it vegan or with stew beef. This recipe I’ve come up is an adapted vegan version that can be made in less than an hour. If you have more time, you can simmer the stew for a few hours or even prepare on low in a crockpot overnight.
You can find dried limes in either whole or powder form. I prefer Sadaf brand, but Amazon has other options available.
Khoresh Gheimeh Bademjan- Eggplant Stew. Serves 4
1 medium Eggplant
1 sweet onion
1-2 cups of French fries or 1 large fry from the closest drive thru 🙂
1 cup of yellow split peas
1 cup basmati rice
3 tbsp tomato paste
2 cups water
1 dried lime or 1 tbsp lime powder
1 tbsp tumeric
2 tsp cinnamon
Salt and pepper
1. Turn oven to 400. Peel and slice Eggplant into long strips. Place on baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and a bit of salt. Roast for 20-30 minutes or until soft.
2. Bake French fries as directed on the package. Set aside.
3. Rinse yellow split peas and cook in boiling water until tender. Skim off foam on top as it appears in the pot.
4. On medium heat in a large frying pan, sauté thinly sliced onions with olive oil until translucent. Add tomato paste and water. Stir in spices and mix well.
5. Once the yellow split peas are tender and eggplant is cooked, add them to the frying pan and simmer stew for 10 minutes. Remove whole lime is applicable.
6. Cook basmati rice as directed on the package.
7. Top the khoresh gheimeh bademjan with crispy french fries and serve over hot basmati rice.
The more I learn about another culture, the more I realize how people across the globe share many more similarities than differences. We (most people) all do the best we can given our circumstances, we want the best for ourselves and families & we all love good food!
My parents encouraged me to see world from a young age and that made me incredibly curious and excited to learn as much as I could. I was lucky to come from a family that embraced two cultures, Iranian and Italian, but I grew up in a very non-diverse city in Wisconsin. This sparked my curiosity even more- I craved exotic dishes and wanted to meet people with totally different experiences than I had.
Global Gastronauts international cooking boxes was created to ensure that kids can learn about the world right at home, no matter where they live. Here are some reasons why your kids need to be learning about the world early on.
Exposing kids to the unfamiliar activates new ways of thinking. Stepping outside of our comfort zone can be hard, but it’s often not as difficult as we make it out to be in our heads. The sooner kids are exposed to something different, the less scary it becomes growing up. Trying something new helps build open minds and hearts that are confident and courageous, Give your kids the right opportunities to encounter the unfamiliar right at home. See our first blog post about activities to do as a family.
Learning about the world helps us develop empathy and inclusivity. We all have the need to be accepted by others, especially as children. In my own experience, kids who bully others are often intimidated by someone who is different from what they know and understand. You all can think of a kid who was ignored or bullied for being different. Learning to understand how other people live can help ease the fear of the unfamiliar. Ask questions about your child’s classmates who are ignored or picked on for being different. Then come up with ways your kid can include that someone. If your child is uncomfortable with this, ask more questions to get a better idea of the source of discomfort. Find a solution that’s right for your family.
Cultural education can help break stereotypes and misconceptions. We all have heard stereotypes of specific groups of people and these misconceptions exist everywhere in the world. I’m always fascinated to learn what stereotypes people in different countries have, even here in the US. I heard MANY misconceptions about Americans and the USA while traveling, which did affect me in various circumstances (I will save those stories for another post:). The bottom line is, talk about stereotypes, racism, and other social issues of culture with your kids. Start the discussion early and come up with ways for your family to become even more culturally inclusive. The more interaction we have with people who are different, whether it’s a kid at school or someone from a different culture, the more kids will see and embrace our similarities.
From my kitchen to yours,
How does your family learn about new cultures and what resources are available in your community?
This dinner was a huge hit with my family. It’s flavorful and jam packed with nutrition- hello omega 3s and iron! Toss in what veggies you have in the fridge and make it meatless if you prefer.
1 cup shelled walnuts
2 cups spinach leaves
1 garlic clove
1/4 extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp water
1 cup sliced portobello mushrooms
1/4 cup small chunks haloumi cheese or Asiago. Whatever you’ve got in the fridge will do.
Fettuccine (enough for 4 people)
3-4 sweet chicken & kale sausages
1. Blitz in spinach, walnuts, garlic and EVOO in a food processor or blender until smooth & creamy.
2. Sauté sausages until cooked then add mushrooms and sauté until soft. Add cheese and pesto, stir for a few minutes until warm and melts.
3. Cook fettuccine as directed on package.
4. Toss everything together and make sure to share with others 🤣
Learn from my rookie travel mistakes and have a good chuckle. We all have awkward stories to share so here are a few of mine!
A decade ago, was young & naive midwestern 24 year old who had fallen in love with Thai culture over a 3 week trip during my last year of college. How could you not fall in love with the Land of Smiles? It’s one of the most beautiful places in the world. So a week after I graduated college, I was back on a plane to teach English in southern Thailand.
I lived in a small quiet city called Trang in the southern peninsula. I chose this place because it was off the tourist path and I wanted to get a better feel for the culture. I spent most weekends going on road trips to small tropical islands nearby with my new friends. School holidays were spent traveling to Chiang Mai (where I visited first in college), but mostly south to Malaysia for visa renewals better known as “visa runs.”
During these trips, I found myself in a few sketchy situations al due to my lack of research and mostly my naiveté. Things could have gone terribly wrong, but I’m grateful for these experiences that snapped me out of my midwestern “everyone is so nice and friendly here!” mentality.
1. Don’t ride a motorbike unprotected.
a. Motorbikes are the easiest way of transportation around Thailand and pretty cheap to rent or buy. Helmets are a must(duh). Many people are careless drivers and people die everyday from motorbike accidents. Don’t be dumb, protect yourself. It’s that simple.
b. I bought a really cute Suzuki motorbike that I drove to school everyday usually while wearing a skirt. This wardrobe left me with many “Thai Tattoos.” These are not the edgy bamboo kind of tattoos either. These are nasty burns from brushing your calves against the hot exhaust pipes. Luckily, those scars faded after a few months, but boy do they hurt! Pants are a much better choice despite the hot sticky weather.
c. As for having your belongings on your bike, wear your bag across your shoulders or around neckso your bag is both on and in front of you.
Once while driving at night (right before the crazy Full Moon party), some dreamy guy drove up right next to me, flashed a beautiful smile then snatched my bag right out of the basket. ALL. WHILE. DRIVING.
I screamed then laughed as I watched him drive off into the dark night with my stuff. I didn’t have anything too valuable inside, but it was pretty scary. I could have easily avoided that by 1. Not driving on some random road all alone at night & 2. Not making myself the perfect tourist target with my big old backpack on.
2. Don’t go to a new place without doing ANY research. I’m all about going with the flow, but planning ahead is how you can accomplish that. I ended up in a handful of super shady guest houses due to my lack of research. I could have avoided feeling totally creeped out if I had planned my trips better.
Having to go on visa runs every 90 days, I usually went to a great little hostel called Jim’s Place on the famous Chulia St. in Penang, Malaysia. During a week off from school, I was in Penang and decided to travel to the west coast Perhentian islands for a relaxing beach getaway.
I didn’t know exactly how to get to these islands (no internet on phones those days) and assumed I could easily find the ferry port. Instead, I ended up way south of those islands and had to spend a night at some sketchy hostel in some random town. Not fun.
The next day, I found a nearby island to visit which sounded perfect. So I got on a ferry and was bamboozled into paying way more than I budgeted for just to stay at the only open resort on the island. When I arrived, I realized someone had stolen my cell phone on the ferry. I was getting used to having stuff stolen by now!
It wasn’t exactly the trip I had in mind and I went way over budget, but Redang Island was incredibly beautiful and quiet nonetheless. I still made the best of trip and enjoyed my time exploring.
3. Don’t do something you wouldn’t do at home. Laws are not the same in Thailand as they are at home. That means don’t do the dumb stuff other people do.
Some bus drivers take uppers to stay awake while driving at night, many people don’t wear helmets or seatbelts, and the party scene can get REALLY out of hand. Never take risks with your safety (another duh).
Once I took a bus to a city a few hours away one weekend (I forget where) and had to head back to Trang on a Sunday night for school the next day. I got to the bus station late and the last bus back to Trang was completely full. I explained to the driver that I needed to get on this bus. He said “OK, but you’ll have to ride in the luggage area under the bus.” I laughed because that was totally absurd, but then he opened the door and I saw a few other people already slouched in there against suitcases. I said “F*** it”, hopped in and was terrified the whole way home. In retrospect, I should have paid ANY amount for a taxi ride home.
Four stolen cell phones, a handful of Thai tattoo scars and just a few bucks left, I came home in one piece with a bunch stories to share. What tips do you have for safety while traveling? I’d love to hear your weird travel experiences!
Let’s be honest- traveling with little kids is not easy. Just the thought of taking my toddler on a 2 hour flight makes me want to take a nap right now. However, I do have high hopes for traveling internationally with my family one day….perhaps in 5 years when mommy brain has disappeared. That goes away right? Well, until that happens, I’ve come up with some fun and easy ways to travel the world right at home.
1. Pick a country you want to visit. Have each family member choose a country they want to see. Can’t think of one? Spin a globe, close your eyes and plop your finger down somewhere. I spent hours as a kid doing this! Learn about everyone’s country at your own pace (weekly or monthly). After learning about each country, choose one you’d all love to visit together.
2. Cook a dish from that country. No need to create anything elaborate after searching high and low for exotic & pricey spices. We’ve got you covered. Simple recipes + kid friendly spice packs= Global Gastronauts international cooking boxes. Check out our shop to see what countries we’ve featured and what all comes in a cooking box (Hint: useful, adorable & creative stuff that your kids will adore!)
3. Learn basic phrases. Explore the language a bit by finding some conversational phrases and quiz each other over dinner. Practice rolling those Rs and don’t forget to laugh at yourself!
4. Create a family vision board. Buy poster board, markers, glue & stickers and give each family member a task. Tasks can be: finding books at the library or bookstore, looking up articles online, clipping scenic pictures from magazines and finding maps. Use anything that inspires you. Get creative and colorful!
5. Set a goal and start a travel fund. Traveling does’t need to be luxurious or crazy expensive if you plan well in advance. Research your destination to get an idea of what a trip would cost (airfare, lodging, food, attractions, etc). Then come up with realistic ways to prioritize your disposable income. Don’t set goals that won’t work for your family- that will only discourage you from reaching your goal. I’d love to tell myself that I’ll cook every single day, but that’s not definitely not practical for me. What’s realistic, is reducing take out from 2 times a week to once a week. Another idea could be skipping out on one coffee shop drink a week & sticking that $5 right into the travel fund. That’s $240 a year. It all adds up!
So, get in the kitchen with your kids, try some new flavors from Global Gastronauts, learn about a fabulous new culture and stick to your travel fund goals. World travel has never been so easy & actually attainable with your family.