Meera Sodha’s vegan recipe for slow-cooked marrow borani

Lifestyle

Baked, caramelised marrow and roast tomatoes all smothered in yoghurt for a supreme, Persian dip or starter

Borani is an Iranian dish of supreme deliciousness, usually made with yoghurt and a vegetable, herbs and nuts. On appearances, it is what we might call a “dip”, but to do so would be to deny the borani its many colours and relegate it into rankings too low. This one, for example, contains caramelised marrow with deeply sweet and savoury roast tomatoes, all layered over yoghurt. I am thankful that the marrow is such a bulbous beast, because one dip of a naan is never enough.

Slow-cooked marrow and tomato borani
This recipe is a take on Naz Deravian’s summer squash recipe in her book Bottom of the Pot, which was a staple in the Sodha household last summer. You rarely see marrows for sale these days, however, and you’ll probably either grow or be gifted one, so I’ve given a guide weight here – adjust the seasoning accordingly.

Prep 15 min
Cook 45 min
Serves 4 as part of a main meal

1.5kg marrow, halved, seeds scraped out and discarded, the rest cut into ½cm half-moons, or quarter-moons, if your marrow is particularly large (1.2kg prepared weight)
6 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra to finish
500g thick non-dairy yoghurt, with no added sugar
1 garlic clove, peeled
Fine sea salt
1 Spanish onion, peeled and sliced into half-moons
400g baby plum tomatoes, halved
½ tsp dried oregano
Fresh oregano, to decorate
Toasted wholemeal pitta (or naan), to serve

Heat the oven to 240C (220C fan)/475F/gas 9 and line two large oven trays with foil.

Put the marrow into a bowl and drizzle with three tablespoons of oil. Mix so they’re well coated, then spread across the two lined trays. Pop into the oven for 25-30 minutes, until soft and charring in places.

While the marrow is cooking , put the yoghurt in a bowl, grate in the garlic clove, add a half-teaspoon of salt and stir to combine.

In a large, nonstick pan, heat the remaining three tablespoons of oil over a medium to high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring regularly, for about 10 minutes, until the onion starts to turn golden and crisp. Remove and set aside a little of the fried onoin for decorating the finished dish.

Add the tomatoes and dried oregano to the pan, and turn down the heat to medium. Cook for five minutes, until the tomatoes are slightly softened, then add 200ml water and a teaspoon and a quarter of salt, and bring to a boil. Add the baked marrow to the pan and cook until all the water has evaporated, leaving a thick, jammy mess of marrow and tomatoes.

To serve, spread out the yoghurt on a serving plate and gently topple the marrow into the centre. Garnish with the fresh oregano and the reserved fried onion, drizzle with plenty of extra-