This is a dish I made back in the Spring, and it was so good I saved it to share!
You remember how much I love Middle Eastern food, don’t you? Here is a dish I had forgotten all about for years, until something – I forget what- jogged my memory. Where we live, in Birmingham, UK, all things Turkish seem to be flourishing: Turkish barbers, Turkish restaurants, Turkish groceries… the latter of which is really good news if, like me, you love to try different ingredients, like tahini, mulberry syrup, grape molasses or fava beans. We have also recently become devotees of Turkish black olives; the small and slightly wrinkly ones with the stones in that come in big jars.
… but I digress. Imam bayaldi literally means “The priest fainted”: intriguing name for a dish, I thought, so I did a little research and found out that the eponymous imam is supposed to have fainted with delight when he tasted the dish, which his wife had cooked for him. Another story goes that an imam was married to the daughter of an olive oil merchant who gave twelve jars of the finest olive oil as her dowry. Every day the bride prepared this stuffed aubergine delicacy, which pleased her newlywed husband no end. However, on the thirteenth day the olive oil ran out and she could not cook it. The imam fainted in disappointment. I have to say that nobody fainted in delight when I served this up, but they did enjoy it!
1 can chopped tomatoes
3 medium aubergines (eggplants)
75-80g white cabbage
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp mixed spice
2 tsps dried oregano/ mixed herbs
1 large pinch of black pepper
2 tsps lemon juice
1 tab soy sauce
2 tsps raw sugar
2 tsps seasalt
1 tab olive oil
Another tab oil
a little flat-leaved parsley and a few olives to garnish (optional)
- Cut eggplant lengthways, scoop out flesh and dice.
- Roast the halves in a medium-hot oven on an oiled baking tray.
- Meanwhile shred the cabbage, fry with soy sauce, hing and sugar in 1 tab olive oil
- Add the other tab olive oil and the diced aubergine to the pan with the cabbage. Simmer with the lid on until soft.
- Add tomatoes, salt, 1 tsp mixed spice, 1tsp paprika, 2tsps dried oregano/mixed herbs, lg pinch black pepper, 2 tsps lemon juice.
- Stuff the aubergines with the mixture and bake in a hot oven.
- Garnish with olives and chopped flat-leaved parsley.