İmam Bayıldı

I absolutely couldn’t miss out on this recipe considering how much I love eggplant. It looks like a very simple dish but you got all the right tastes going on. Sweet tomato with onion and soft, almost melting eggplant. You can’t go wrong with such combination. Perhaps you know this dish under direct translation: “the imam fainted”. The story goes that an imam fainted upon tasting this delicious dish. Either that or because of the costs of making it, i.e the amount of olive oil used for it. Whichever you choose to believe facts are this is a very yummy dish and if you follow this recipe (original found here) you don’t have to use up all your oil to make it.

Preparing the eggplant:

  • 2 eggplants
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • fresh, chopped parsley and mint

Cut eggplants into half, lengthwise. Salt thoroughtly and leave for 15-20 minutes to release water. If you don’t do that during frying water from eggplant will make the oil splash. Dry well with paper towel, drill out the middle a little bit, just to make space for filling. Save the drilled out middle and cut into small cubes – you can add it later to cook with the sauce. Preheat your pan and add some olive oil, fry the eggplants a couple of minutes on each side until they become tender. Slice garlic cloves and put 1 garlic clove into each half. Wash and chop mint and parsley and put on each part of eggplant just as you did with garlic. Put some olive oil into a baking bowl and place the eggplants there. Let them rest while you prepare the filling.

Filling:

  • 2 medium onions
  • 1 red pepper
  • Salt, pepper
  • 2-3 spoons lemon juice
  • 3-4 chopped, peeled tomatoes
  • oregano, basil
  • optionaly 1 spoon tomato paste

Chop onions and pepper and fry on olive oil until tender, put all your spices in at this stage. Add the drilled out middle of eggplant (parts without seeds) and tomatoes. Cover and simmer until the juice from tomatoes becomes thick. Add lemon juice and simmer another 2 minutes. Put the filling into eggplants, approximately 2-3 big spoons for each half. If you want to get an extra spicy kick you can put green hot pepper on top. Put the ready eggplants (uncovered) into preheated oven and bake for 40 min in 180C. You can serve this both hot and cold with other side dishes and bulgur.

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