star blecch.

Well that was fun.


The above is a picture of our friend Felipe from December's legendary Down With Hip-Hop Rally (here are the rest of the new photos, not my work, and probably NSFW), which I'll stop talking about any minute now.


Lil' K-Pon back at the helm here, plotting a course for the planet Persia. It's time to clean out the refrigerator again, and this time the country with the most underutilized condiments is...Iran!

Our first contestant is something that's pretty delicious, but you can really only consume it in small quantities, which it doesn't mind since it's a condiment. It's a member of the torshi family, which is the general term for pickled things in Middle Eastern cooking. If you've been to an Iranian or Turkish grocer, you've noticed the rows and rows of pickled things: obvious choices like whole tiny cukes, garlic cloves, small eggplants, turnips, carrots, cauliflower...and less obvious ones like unripe fruit and nuts. Anyway, I think these are all classified as torshi.

In addition to "whole object pickles" (yep, freshly coined), there are all kinds of relishes and chutney kind of options. And this brings us to the contestant in question, ladies and gentlemen: pickled bandari!

I thought bandari meant eggplant. It doesn't. It's what this relish is called. So this is sort of an Iranian pickle relish, but with eggplant as the primary ingredient. It's extremely sour, but not overly salty or one-dimensional. Here are the rest of the ingredients (it also looks like there are some kalonji/nigella seeds in there):

Practical uses? Well, that's what this post is all about. It's been sitting unused in my fridge because I hadn't thought of anything good to do with it.

Today was its maiden voyage. I sauteed some merguez sausages and meanwhile stirred together a new futuristic condiment that was half Heinz ketchup and half pickled bandari. Excellent idea. We followed up with a mayo/bandari hybrid that was equally excellent.

Either of these would be gorgeous on a burger, hot dog, Turkse pizza (lahmacun), or, well...merguez sausage. And the bandari/mayo idea would also be an awesome coleslaw dressing, were you in a mind for such a thing. In fact, toss the coleslaw with the mayobandari, serve merguez on top of it with ketchupbandari drizzled on top and finish everything with a sprinkling of raw sweet onions and cilantro....score!

OK. More Persian explorations soon, as the fridgepurge continues.....


More research is as usual proving that I might not know what I'm talking about. Here is a recipe for a Persian torshi that sounds very much like what is pictured above.

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