Gen's Cheat Imam Bayildi
INGREDIENTS
  • Cooking Time: 20
  • Servings: 4-6
  • Preparation Time: 10
  • 2 Tbsp oil (safflower, etc.)
  • ½ large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp. garlic, peeled and finely chopped (or 1 garlic scape)
  • 2 large tomatoes, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 Italian eggplants (or 2 small ones), finely chopped in small 0.5 cm cubes
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 4 Tbsp. coriander or parsley, finely chopped (optional)
DIRECTIONS
  1. Put the oil in a frying pan and set it over medium heat. When hot, put in the onion and garlic. Stir and cook for about 4 minutes, or until the garlic and onion have softened. Put in the tomatoes, salt, and pepper to taste. Stir and bring to a simmer. Add the chopped eggplant and 1/4 cup of water and cook for 5 minutes. Turn the heat down to low and simmer gently for 7 to 8 minutes, or until the tomatoes have softened and the liquid has thickened. Add up to another 1/4 cup of water if the eggplant starts to stick to the pan. Add the coriander or parsley, stir once, and turn off the heat.
  2. Serve hot or chilled over basmati rice and with any other Turkish or Indian meal you like.
RECIPE BACKSTORY
FEATURING: eggplant, onions, tomatoes, garlic, parsley or coriander. Imam Bayildi is a well-known Turkish dish which literally means the Imam is exhilarated or the Imam fainted. Although there are many theories to explain it's name, most think it's due to the amazing taste of this simple recipe. The recipe below is my cheat/quicker version that I like to serve over rice and that I like just as much as the real thing. The real version (see hyperlink below) actually requires stuffing the eggplants- something I only do when I have time. IF YOU WANT TO BE FANCY, here's how to stuff the eggplant/make an eggplant boat- using a sharp knife, make deep slits in the aubergines, lengthwise. Take out most of the inside of the eggplant, leaving about 1 cm of flesh around- (keep both parts: the fleshy eggplant part you took out will be used for the stuffing in the recipe above; the shells will be used to stuff the stuffing into). Fit the aubergines into a baking tray (slit side up) and pre-bake them for 30 minutes at 450 º F. Then fill each eggplant boat with stuffing that you made. Cover the tray with a piece of foil and bake in a 350 º F oven for about 20 minutes.