Serving the Guest: A Sufi Cookbook
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The juice of the young grape is sour,
but becomes sweet and tasty upon ripening.
In the cask the juice becomes bitter and forbidden,
but as vinegar, how excellent it is for seasoning!
Torshi Bademjan
Iranian Eggplant Pickle
First-day time: 1-½ hours
Pickling: Several days
3 lbs. eggplant
1 tbsp. mustard seeds
2 tbsp. black pepper
Cayenne or red pepper flakes to taste
¼ cup lightly toasted coriander seeds
1 tbsp. cardamom
1 tbsp. peeled and finely chopped ginger
2 tbsp. fennel seeds
1 tbsp. anise seeds
¼ cup finely chopped garlic
1 tbsp. turmeric
3 tbsp. salt
5 cups wine vinegar
2 tbsp. tamarind concentrate

Preheat the oven to 400F.

Trim the stems from the eggplant, and deeply pierce them in several places with a sharp knife. Place them on a baking sheet and bake them for about an hour, until they are cooked all the way through. Put them in a sieve to drain and cool, then peel and cut into strips.

Combine the pickling spices and mix with the eggplant. Bring the vinegar to a boil, add the tamarind concentrate, and stir until it dissolves. Put the spiced eggplant into sterilized glass jars or a crock, and pour the vinegar over it. Cover and keep in a dark place at room temperature for several days before serving