Imam Bayildi – “the Imam fainted”

Serves 6 – the recipe below is the Roden version; the videos are a selection of the best ones I have found on the net

Technique here is to just mix all the ingredients without cooking them first, put into the eggplant and then cover and cook on top of the stove. A bit of an outlier.

This looks like the real Turkish grandmother version. Ingredients cooked first, then placed into the eggplant cleverly cut into a tripod shape, packed into a pan and covered with olive oil. Lots of salt. Bet you can’t get much more authentic than this.

Ingredients

Can be cooked in the saucepan or the oven.

  • 6 small long and thin eggplants
  • 0.3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup good quality tomato juice
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • juice of 1 lemon

For the filling

  • 1.5 large onions, sliced thinly
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 1 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 4 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • salt

Method

Trim the stalk ends of the egg plants (you can leave the stalk). Peel off strips of skin lengthwise, leaving alternative strips of peel and bare flesh. Make a deep cut on one side of each eggplant lengthwise from one end to the other but not right through so as to make a pocket. Soak the eggplants in water with 1 tablespoon of salt and leave for 30 mins, then drain and dry.

For the filling, soften the onions gently in the oil but do not let them color. Add garlic and stir for a moment or two until the aroma rises. Remove from the heat and stir in the tomatoes and parsley, season with salt and mix well.

Stuff the eggplants with this mixture and place them tightly side by side with the opening on tip in a wide, shallow pan. Pour over them the oil and enough tomato juice to cover, mixed with a little sugar, salt and lemon juice. Cover the pan and simmer gently for about 45 mins until eggplants are soft and the liquid much reduced.

IF IN THE OVEN: arrange in a baking dish cut side on top and pour the other ingredients over. Cover with oil and cook in a preheated oven at 200C for 1 hour until soft, then allow to cool and serve.

Some cooks fry the eggplant in olive oil very briefly first.

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