Jul 9, 2010

Imam Bayildi - Fainted Priest ....

Cooking - is it an art or a science?... To me it is certainly a science . I envy people who walk in to the kitchen without any plan and just throw in things and dish up a sumptuous meal. Though i love cooking i am definitely not a natural at it.. I need my measuring cups and spoons and scale and what not. Give me a recipe and i will follow it to the tee..I am not a creative cook yet.

During my stay in Istanbul this was one dish that i never failed to order..... I had this everyday. This dish is called 'Imam Bayildi' which translates to The Priest fainted'..There are several apocryphal stories about the origins of the dish. The imam (Muslim priest) fainted or swooned when he tasted how good it was. I did too!!!

This is a simple eggplant dish which is cooked in loads of olive oil , slashed in the middle and stuffed with tomatoes onion, garlic, parsley and dill.

you will need :

5 purple medium sized aubergines

Salt to taste

10 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 medium-size onions, cut lengthwise and thinly sliced

6 large garlic cloves, chopped

4 ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped

Juice of one tomato/ half cup tomato juice

1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley leaves

2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

1 teaspoon sugar

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup water

Heat about 5 tbsp 0f oil and fry the aubergine for about 5 Min's while turning them frequently ensuring not to burn them.

Now arrange the aubergines in an oven proof dish.
With the help of a fork and knife gently slash the belly of the aubergine and split it open making sure not to cut them to the end.

To make the filling :
In the same skillet you cooked the eggplant, add the remaining oil and heat over medium-high heat, then cook the onion and garlic until soft, stirring frequently so the garlic doesn't burn. Add the chopped tomato , parsley , dill and sugar . Half way through add 1/2 cup water and cook till done.

Spoon in as much filling as you can in the split aubergine halves.

Now mix lemon juice, tomato juice 1/4 cup water and 1/2 tsp sugar separately and pour it over the stuffed aubergines.

Put it in moderate oven (180) for 40 Min's . Garnish with parsley.

Serve it with plain buttered rice and Greek yogurt.

Verdict :
1. Please dont go by the pictures. They dont do justice to this utterly melting deliciousness. I guess some dishes are not photogenic.
2. The almost creamy aubergine with the falvourful tomato sauce is divine.
You may also add currants and pine nuts to the filling for a sweeter and nuttier version.
Meat lovers can add minced meat for the filling.