Imam Bayildi……

auberginesThe following recipe was kindly contributed by YTF member and Head Chef at Maison de Leo,Willie Cloete. Enjoy!!!

“Imam Bayildi” literally means the “imam fainted”. The name is  supposedly derived from a tale of a Turkish Imam, who swooned with pleasure at the flavor when presented with this dish by his wife, although other more humorous accounts suggest that he fainted upon hearing the cost of the ingredients or the amount of oil used to cook the dish. Another folktale relates that an Imam married the daughter of an olive oil merchant. Her dowry consisted of twelve jars of the finest olive oil, with which she prepared each evening an eggplant dish with tomatoes and onions. On the thirteenth day, there was no eggplant dish at the table. When informed that there was no more olive oil, the Imam fainted.

Imam Bayildi is a dish in Ottoman cuisine consisting of whole eggplant stuffed with onion, garlic and tomatoes, and simmered in olive oil. It is one of the most notable olive oil-based dishes and is found in most of the formerly Ottoman regions. The dish is served at room temperature or warm and I serve it with a mint yogurt which breaks the greasy olive oil a little.

Ingredients:

  • 3 large aubergines, halved lengthwise or 6 smaller ones if they are part of other dishes
  • ½ Cup (125 ml) olive oil
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) butter
  • 2 tsp (10 ml) olive oil
  • ½ onion, diced
  • 1 Tbsp (15 ml) garlic, crushed
  • 2 fresh tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tin (400 g) chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) ground cumin
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) paprika
  • ½ tsp (2.5 ml) dried chilli flakes
  • 60 g pine nuts or peanuts for a cheaper option
  • 2 Tbsp (30 ml) flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp (15 ml) fresh origanum or coriander, chopped

Continue reading