Long time ago I was curious about this recipe and I wanted to find out if I would faint too. It is a Turkish recipe that means “the Imam fainted” or “Imam Bayildi” in Turkish, because they say that he was overcome by this delicious meal. I discovered it in “Coriander – A Book of Recipes” from 1997 in London. It was 2006 when I tried it out and I have to say that it was exquisite. Plus it is made with one of my favourite vegetable. It is not a difficult recipe and smells heavenly. For a special treat and something vegetarian, go into the kitchen and try not to faint.
- 2 aubergines, halved lengthways
- 60 ml (4 tbsp)olive oil, plus extra if needed
- 2 large onions, thinly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 green pepper, seeded and sliced (or any other favourite colour)
- 400 g (4 oz) can chopped tomatoes
- 45 ml (3 tbsp) granulated sugar
- 5 ml (2 tsp) ground coriander
- 30 ml (2 tbsp) fresh chopped coriander
- ground black pepper
- crusty bread, to serve
- coriander sprigs, to serve
- Using a sharp knife, slash the flesh of the aubergines a few times. Place them in a colander, sprinkle the cut sides with salt and leave for about 30 minutes. Rinse well and pat dry. From my experience, there is hardly any juice left and they turn quite dark so rub the flesh of the aubergines with lemon juice after you halved them.
- Preheat the oven to 190°C, 375 °F, Gas 5.
- Heat the oil in a frying pan, add the aubergines, cut-sides down and fry for 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon or tongs and place in a shallow ovenproof dish.
- Add the onions, garlic and green pepper to the pan, with extra oil if necessary and cook for about 10 minutes, until the vegetables have softened.
- Add the tomatoes, sugar and ground coriander with salt and pepper to taste. Cook for about 5 minutes until the mixture has reduced. Stir in the chopped coriander. Now it smells divine.
- Spoon this mixture on top of the aubergines. Cover and bake for about 30-35 minutes.
- Serves it hot with crusty bread or naan bread and Greek-style yogurt or chilled with just the bread and garnished with coriander springs.