Imam Bayildi... My way :)
Influenced by my Turkish neighbour in Hamburg.. I give them a twist of my own... Worth every single olive-oil laden calorie :)
There was this Turkish lady on the floor above ours.. very simple and very humble. Its been so many years since we were together in the same building.. and a few since we met. I've learnt a lot from her and am still indebted to her..
Many an afternoon I remember coming home from work and being presented by a dish of something yumm and steaming by her or one of her lovely daughters..
Amongst those many morsels of delight, was this dish too. I've watched her make it.. and eaten it directly in the kitchen...perched on a chair.. totally un-guest-like.. I think that added to its taste..
Imam Bayildi - The Imam fell over.. many fables, why its called so... whether he fell out of sheer delight at the taste.. or at the thought of so many calories.. who knows exactly? But really, once you enjoy this dish, its of no consequence WHY its called so.. :)
Here's how I made it..
5 small aubergines.. best would be the long ones, but any small thin shape would do..
3 medium onions, sliced thin
5 tomatoes, chopped rough
6 to 8 cloves of garlic
1 cup olive oil...
2 small limes (this is my own addition.. not essentially a part of the recipe.. but I like it)
1 tsp dried or 1/4 cup fresh:
Parsely, Basil, Mint each - chopped fine.
(I had dried ones only so used that..)
Slice the aubergines in half, wash and soak them in salted water for 10 minutes
Brush olive oil over the surfaces and place them on a baking tray and bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Or until the flesh is soft and the skin is easy enough to push away. Cover and set aside
Heat olive oil and add 2 tsp garlic to it
Add the onions and fry them to a nice golden
Meanwhile, heat some more olive oil and add the tomatoes
Add some more garlic - around a tsp, some salt and pepper as per your taste
Saute the tomatoes and let them reduce.
You want the tomatoes to be nice and saucy.. but not wet
So once the onion is nicely done, add the tomatoes
Mix well and bhunofy a bit more
Add the herbs and turn off heat.. mix in well and set aside
Once the aubergines are done, flatten the flesh with a spoon or fork to make a hollow
Spoon on the onion tomato mix in heaps
Add 1/4 cup water to the dish, so it just covers the base a bit - the aubergines are cooked, you just need some steam to warm them through
Add some salt and pepper to it and the limes, halved, flesh side down..
Pour over the remaining olive oil and add the remaining garlic...
Heat the dish in the oven.. until the water dries off and the aubergines are warm
Serve with white buttered rice or bread as per your wish.. serve with the remaining onion mix..