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LOCATION: Recipes >> Vegetables >> Imam Bayildi (VEGAN)

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4 Eggplants
4 Large Onions
12 Cloves Garlic
2 Cups Water
1 Cup Olive Oil
4 Tomatoes (skinned)
12 Sprigs Parsley
1 Tsp. Sugar
Salt to taste

Cut the onion into thin half-moon slices. Chop the
tomatoes and parsley and mix with the onion slices.
Add the garlic and salt and leave aside. Leave the
stalk on the eggplants but peel the dark outer skin
in 1/2-inch wide strips lengthwise, then make a deep
incision in the center lengthwise. Sprinkle generously
with rock salt and leave aside for 30 minutes to
extract the vegetable's bitter juices.

Was well and pat dry. Take the onion mixture and fill
the eggplants with this then lay them side by side in
a wide-bottomed saucepan.

Add water, olive oil, salt, and a sprinkling of sugar.
Put a plate on them and then cover the saucepan. Cook
until the eggplants are soft and tender and the liquid
reduced to almost nothing (less than 1 tablespoon
should remain in the saucepan) -- about 1-1/2 hours
on medium heat. Allow to cool in own saucepan and
serve very cold.

[From _Turkish Cooking_, by Irfan Orga]

Notes: This the traditional way to do this. It preserves
the shape of the eggplant and looks very nice. However,
we just cut the eggplant up into slices, salt it and
let stand to extract the bitterness, then cook it in
the onion mixture without stuffing the eggplants. Tastes
the same! This is delicious served on bread or crackers.

The name of the dish means "The Imam fainted." The story
is that the Imam's wife made this for him, and it was
so delicious that he...well he didn't faint, but he asked
his wife to make it for him every day. And every day she
made it for him, and every day he ate it, and it was so
delicious that...well, he didn't faint until he saw the
bill for the olive oil that came at the end of the month!

Bill Jefferys


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