Thursday, 16 April 2009

IMAM BAYILDI ('The Imam fainted')

Today I have a guest blogger, Marjolaine. She has a vast range of cooking skills, and in particular great knowledge of Asian and french cuisines. But today the recipe she is sharing is of Turkish origin and is called IMAM BAYILDI.. This is her take on cooking this dish in less time.
I'll let her speak now!...:

This dish translate litteraly from Turkish as 'the Imam fainted'. the name originates from the following fable:
A certain Ottoman Imam, very respected for his teachings, was leading a school all young people dreamed of being part of one day. the mother of one of these youths did not know how to thank the Imam who accepted her son as a student. This austere man was very difficult foodwise, he was a vegetarian and did not care much about his food. Modestly, she bought aubergines and cooked them her own way. She brought the dish to the Iman, and it is told that the Iman who accepted to taste them, fainted, sod elighted he was by the dish.
the mother was well rewarded for her gratitude.

For 2 people:
- A medieum sized aubergine
- 1/4 coffee cup olive oil
- 1 big tomato, peeled, dices and pips removed
- 1 big onion, roughly chopped or sliced
- 2 cloves of garlic (germ removed) and chopped
- 1 pinch of cinnamon, or four-spice
- a small handful of finely chopped parsley
- 1 laurel leaf
- salt,pepper

Cut the aubergine in half in its length, and remove the flesh with a spoon. Brush the insides with olive oil, place them a little under the grill so that they are half cooked.

Cut the discarded aubegine flesh in dice

Heat in in a pan 2 tablespoon of olive oil, and fry the onion till transparent, then add the aubergine dice and the tomato and cook for a few minutes on low heat, stirring from time to time.
Add the garlic, parsley, laurel and spices. Mix well and leave to cook about 10 more minutes, on low-ish heat, covered.

Discard the laurel leaf and fill the half aubergines with the mix. Place in an oven dish, pour a little glass of water and 2tblspn of olive oil at the bottom of the dish.

Cook in the oven for 3/4h at 175 degreeC. Serve warm sprinkled with finely chopped parsley, or cold as a starter.
Since the preparation takes quite a bit of time, it is best preparing larger quantities of it.

My twist on this dish, for a faster preparation:
I add cooked chopped lamb meat (not minced) (or a mix of minced beef and chopped lamb meat) and a red hot pepper.

Here is the method:
- I cut the aubergines in half (empty them and reserve the flesh), and shallow fry them with a bit of water and olive oil, first skin side for 5 minutes then flesh sidefor 5 minutes, covered (it tends to 'spit' a lot). then i reserve them.
- In the frying pan, I fry the onion, garlic,tomato, diced chili pepper , sppice,salt,pepper and parsley, leave to cook covered on low heat for a few minutes. When the sauce is reduced, I add the cooked meat and the aubergine dice
- In an oven dish, I place the aubergine stuffed with the mix and cover them with slices of gruyere and ook in the oven for 3/4h at 150-175 degreeC
I much prefer the aubergines fried rather than grilled, as they are more moist and creamy.

Source: Marjolaine, including the photos
My own note: slice (but not through, rather like a fan) the aubergines on the skin side before frying them


Shari@Whisk: a food blog said...

I like the idea of cinnamon in this!

Sara said...

This looks really yummy! I love food with good stories behind it! :)

Christelle said...

To Shari: Yes I thought so too :)

To Sara: the story is definitely unusual :)