What is Kashk Made Of?
Kashk - also known as kishk, jameed and tarhana - is a dairy product popular in Persian, Turkish, Balkan and Arab cooking. It is made from fermented yogurt, milk or whey, and has a rich umami flavour, similar to a well-aged cheese like parmesan.
Different cultures have their own techniques when it comes to making kashk. Some methods involve fermented milk or yogurt only, while others use a mixture of fermented grains and yogurt or whey. It is available as a thick white liquid, similar in appearance to sour cream, or as a dried powder which needs to be soaked and softened before using.
Kashk can be used to thicken soups and stews, and to add a delicious umami depth of flavour. It also tastes great in dips, with roasted vegetables or warm pitta bread.
How to Make Kashk at Home
You can buy kashk in liquid form from your nearest Persian supermarket, but it’s also fairly simple to make at home. All you need is a large tub of full-fat, plain, unsweetened yogurt, some water and some table salt.
Empty the yogurt into a saucepan, along with an equal amount of water (you can use the empty carton to measure it) and stir the two together. Bring the mixture to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 1 ½ to 2 hours, or until all the water has evaporated. You will notice the yogurt separating out into a yellowish liquid and white solids as it boils, which is a sign that the process is working. Give the pan a stir every now and then, especially towards the end, to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan.
With all the water evaporated, you should be left with a loose paste the colour of buttermilk. Spoon the paste into a large piece of cheesecloth or a clean cotton tea towel and squeeze the excess liquid out over a bowl until your kashk is the consistency of a crumbly soft cheese. Remove the cheesecloth and add a little water to the mixture, either in a blender or mixing by hand, in a clean bowl, until your kashk is a smooth, creamy paste. Add some salt, taste and add more if required.
Now you have your kashk, you can either start creating recipes with it right away, or place it in a sealed container and store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. If you want to keep it for longer, you can spoon blobs of it into separate ziplock bags and store them in the freezer.
What is Bademjan?
‘Bademjan’, or sometimes ‘bademjoon’ is quite simply the Farsi word for eggplant. Eggplant is an important part of Persian cuisine, its meaty texture and ability to absorb flavours making it a popular addition to rich stews and dips. We love this recipe for koresh bademjan, a rich beef and aubergine stew with ghooreh grapes and aromatic spices from Persian Mama.
Another popular Persian eggplant recipe is kashke bademjan, which literally translates as ‘kashk and eggplant’, its two main ingredients. Kashke bademjan combines the meaty texture of eggplant with the umami flavour of kashk to make a delicious savoury dip.
Kashke Bademjan (Eggplant and Walnut Dip)
Kashke bademjan can be served as an appetiser or as part of a main course. It tastes great with warm pitta or flatbreads, and is suitable for vegetarians too.
As might be expected for a traditional dish, there are a lot of different variations, but our favourite kashke bademjan is another recipe from Persian Mama, which uses ground walnuts for a thicker, creamier dip.