Introduction: Imam Bayildi (Middle Eastern Aubergine & Tomato)
This is one of my favourite vegetable recipes. A full flavoured but simple dish. Great as a vegetarian main meal served with some fresh white cheese (such as feta) and cous or good bread on the side. It's also a handy recipe when cooking for groups as can be made ahead and served cold.
Imam Bayildi translates into Turkish as the 'Imam fainted' - one of the stories says that this is because of the amount of olive oil that was added to the original recipe! Some recipes add up to half a pint of oil, however I have added a bit less to mine - but feel free to add more if you want. Traditional recipes often stuff the aubergine with the tomato and onion mix, however in my take on the recipe I cook all the ingredients together.
One of my food heroes is the Claudia Roden, an authority on Middle Eastern cooking. A Book of Middle Eastern Food is my 'go to' book for simple and tasty recipe inspiration. I would recommend the book highly to anyone interested in Middle Eastern flavours.
Imam Bayildi can also be served as a side dish with roast meat or as part of a large mezze platter or picnic buffet. This recipe also works well with the aubergines substituted for the same amount of courgettes - perfect for any excess courgettes you may have at the moment.
I hope you give this a try. Do you have a favourite aubergine recipe?
recipe by: De Tout Coeur Limousin
preparation time: 10 minutes
cooking time: 30-40 minutes
serves: 4 as a side dish with a main meal or more as part of a mezze or buffet
2 large aubergines chopped into chunky dice
1 kg fresh/tinned chopped tomatoes
2 large onions
1 garlic clove
salt and pepper to taste
3-4 bay leaves
bunch of parsley chopped
4 tbs extra virgin olive oil
Step 1: Method:
heat the oil in a pan then add your chopped aubergine, onions, garlic and bay leaves.
season with salt and pepper and cook over a gentle heat for about 10-15 minutes to soften.
add the chopped tomatoes and continue to cook for another 10-15 minutes until reduced and the aubergine and onion are soft.
take off the heat and add the chopped parsley
serve hot or cold
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