Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Imam Bayildi Eggplant Stuffed Tomatoes For Friday Lunch With Our Multi-Culture Friends

Haven't tried Imam Bayildi yet? you are missing something here. I made this for my multi culture guests that came for lunch on Friday. B originally from Beijing, C from Italy, M is mix between Italy, French, and Germany, J (my husband) South African - Israel, and I (Balinese). Everyone liked it, except I forgot that M dislike eggplant. Thank goodness that he could eat the tomato sauce with his rice. What do we have in common? For sure, we all love wine, food and travel, plus B and C are actually live in the neighborhood. C has vineyard, her husband make delicious merlot, B is in the process of making her own vineyard, and M own an exclusive wine store in Manhattan. My husband and I own nothing, but, we love to enjoy good food, good company, and of course good wine. So all of us sat at the table, talked about food, wine, and really enjoying our conversation and learned about each other culture.

So, what is Imam Bayildi? Since I am not Turkish, I can only tell you what I know about this dish. It is a delicious specialty of Turkish dish, it means the fainted imam. It is said that the eggplant is so delicious, it makes the imam fainted after eating it. It must be that delicious, right? The dish is uncomplicated, mild, versatile, and of course delicious. Although it is serve as cold meze dish in its original country, I like to serve hot as vegetarian main dish with rice pilaf. This recipe make quite large portion, making it perfect for huge family and friend casual gathering. As always, you can adjust the recipe to fit your budget and number of people you are going to serve.

Imam Bayildi

serve 10-12


4 pounds baby italian eggplant, or japanese eggplant

olive oil, for frying eggplant
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large canned (28 oz) fire roasted whole tomato, or any other canned tomato
5 large Roma tomato, peeled - chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
a handful chopped parsley
salt and pepper to taste

  • Fry eggplant with a few tablespoon olive oil on a medium heat on all side to soften a little, don't over fry because it will be cook for a second time with the sauce. Drain on a paper towel, when they cool enough to handle, make an opening in the middle to stuffed to sauce.

  • In a large pot, fry the onion with 2 tablespoon olive oil until soft and translucent, add garlic, fry for a few seconds. Squeeze the whole fire roasted tomatoes with your hand into small pieces, add this to the pot along with roma tomatoes, and tomato paste. Stir, season with salt and pepper. Cover the pot, turn the heat to low, let the sauce cook for 30 minutes, taste and adjust seasoning as needed - cool slightly.

  • Stuff each eggplant with tomato sauce, arrange them on a single layer in a large braiser and pack them as neatly as possible, sprinkle with parsley. Pour all remaining sauce on top, place the lid on top. Cook on low for 1 to 1½ hour until the eggplant is tender. Serve cold as meze dish or hot as main vegetarian dish.

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