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My cookbook: "Tehran to New York"

On the Norouz day of 2020 spring, I finally published my book. The manuscript is titled: "Tehran to New York: A culinary bridge between Persian and Western cultures" and aims at presenting a unique blend of classic and contemporary Persian recipes, as well as samples of Western-style cuisine, offered in a Persian context. It is important to build bridges between cultures, and not walls. This book aims at constructing a bridge between the Persian and Western cultures. The book may be ordered here:  

Sikbaj; the Medieval Persian eggplant stew

Kitab al-Tabikh,” also known as "A Baghdad Cookery book," a collection of ninth century recipes from the court of Islamic caliphs, depicts a glorious image of the golden age of Medieval cooking. The subject cuisine is indeed royal, believed by historians to have been directly imported from both: the court of Sassanian Empire kings and the dining banquettes of elite castes of the highly aristocratic Persian society. Meticulous attention to the details, sophisticated cooking techniques, and a range of carefully selected ingredients are the common features in all the presented recipes. From the linguistic standpoint, many of the recipes have names which can be traced to the Middle Persian dialect; from the viewpoint of food history, on the other hand, some of the recipes can be presumed as the early versions of their contemporary Persian cuisine counterparts.
An example of such dishes with the deep Persian connection is “Sikbaj,” the first recipe of the book (hence the first ever scribed recipe of the human history), a dish closely related to the contemporary Persian eggplant stew, with its name originated from the Middle Persian dialect (“Sik” means “Vinegar” and “Baj” means “Stew”). 
For this post, the author has made an effort to use the 800-year-old recipe and cook this forgotten dish. The result was phenomenal, leaving me surprised by the superb quality of food in that era of human history. 

1.1 Pounds (~500 gr or 3 medium) Chinese eggplants
¼ cup canola oil
1.1 Pounds (~500 gr) boneless lamb shoulder (or 1.65 Pounds ~750 gr bone-in)
1 cinnamon stick
½ TSP coriander powder
1 small bunch of cilantro
1 cup grape juice
6 TBSP to ½ cup red wine, white, or apple cider vinegar*
1 Oz (~28 gr) shelled pistachio**
Pinch of saffron
1 TBSP of rosewater (or 1 TSP of dried rosebuds)
* Start with 6 TBSP. Once the stew is cooked, in case it is too sweet to your taste, add the rest.
** The original recipe asks for slivered almond, dried figs, raisins, and dates. I substituted the former with pistachio and ignored the last three, as the taste would be too sweet. You may add an Ounce of each (~28) if you prefer to. Since these ingredients are very sweet, in case of using them, you may need to increase the volume of vinegar to 3/4 cup to balance.   

For the first try out, I followed the exact recipe from the text, which calls for the boiling of eggplants in salted water. The use of this cooking technique could be justified by necessity; given the fact that eggplants had been very bitter at the time. The final dish, although flavorful and well-balanced in terms of flavor, had some room for improvement in terms of eggplant's texture. Moreover, I misinterpreted the text, thinking that carrots are essential. Upon further textual screening, I realized that onions, carrots, and Syrian leeks were only used when eggplants were off season (i.e. fall and winter). 
For the second tryout, I appealed to the modern method of cooking Persian eggplant stew. Peel the skin of eggplants, cut them in half, and heavily salt. Wait for 10~15 minutes or until several drops of drained water appear on their surface. Wash and pat dry. Pour the oil in a large skillet (which has a lid), set on high heat. Fry the eggplants until soft, with both sides of each slice golden brown. Remove the eggplants from the pan and transfer them to a plate which is lined with paper towel. Brown the meat in the same pan (which hopefully should require no more added oil).     
Although eggplants quickly absorb most of the oil in the frying pan, during the waiting period on the plate most of the oil is absorbed by the lined paper towel. Note that absorbed oil by eggplant is the key to the magical rich and buttery texture of the eggplant in the Persian eggplant stew; boiling the eggplant in salted water, will not quite do the job.
To the same pan add the spices, caramelized onions, and the cilantro bundle and toast them for 30 seconds. Add the grape juice and vinegar. Decrease the heat to low, cover the pan, and let cook for 40 minutes or until the meat is fully cooked. 
Uncover the pan, arrange the fried eggplants slices on a side, and sprinkle the saffron on them. Add the pistachio (or the other dried nuts and fruits as listed in the ingredients, if you choose to), increase the heat to medium-low, and cook for 5~10 minutes or until the sauce is very thick. The excessive fat on the surface may be skimmed with a spoon, in case a lighter sauce is preferred.