Recipe: Heavenly Aubergine Borani




Award-winning food writer Sumayya Usmani’s delightful memoir tells the story of what it was like growing up in Pakistan and how the women in her life inspired her to trust her instincts in the kitchen. Andaza (Murdoch Books) is a wonderfully colourful book showing off some of the best recipes and dishes to be found Pakistan. Sumayya’s delicious Aubergine Borani is just one of many exotic delights you will find in its pages.

Aubergine Borani

This is one of the recipes I cooked when I returned to my mother’s kitchen: inspired by the Afghani dish of borani, it makes a lovely side (pictured overleaf). As it is served at room temperature, it’s perfect for relaxed meals.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Serves 4–6


2 aubergines (eggplants), cut into rounds about 5 mm (¼ inch) thick

1 tablespoon Himalayan pink salt

2 tablespoons sunflower oil

For the tomato topping

2 tablespoons sunflower oil

1 small red onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1 teaspoon finely grated ginger

4 tomatoes, finely chopped

salt, to taste

For the yoghurt and mint

260 g (1 cup) full-fat Greek-style yoghurt

½ teaspoon crushed garlic

1 teaspoon dried mint

salt, to taste

For the tempering

1 tablespoon sunflower oil

½ teaspoon cumin seeds

2 dried red chillies

To garnish

1 tablespoon chopped dill

1 tablespoon coriander (cilantro) leaves


Sprinkle the aubergine slices with the salt and set aside for 5 minutes to draw out the moisture, then rinse and dry with paper towels.

Heat an overhead grill (broiler) to high. Drizzle the aubergine slices with the oil, place on a baking tray and grill (broil) until brown on one side, then flip and brown on the other. Set aside.

To make the tomato topping, heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat. When it is hot, add the onion, garlic and ginger and cook, stirring, until light brown, then add the tomatoes and salt and cook until the tomatoes are soft and the oil rises to the surface. Set aside.

For the yoghurt and mint, mix all the ingredients together.

To assemble the dish, lay most of the aubergine slices on a serving plate and spoon over the tomato topping, then drizzle with the yoghurt and mint. Finish with the remaining aubergine slices.

For the tempering, heat the oil in a small frying pan over medium heat. When it is hot, add the cumin seeds and chillies and fry for a few seconds, then pour over the dish.

Serve at room temperature, garnished with dill and coriander.

The art of sensory cooking, the ability to create flavours intuitively, wasn’t something I was taught, but something I picked up from my life in the kitchen.



Images and text from Andaza by Sumayya Usmani, photography by Alicia Taylor. Murdoch Books RRP $45.00.