Imam Bayilde - Turkish Vegetable Entree

Total Time
1hr 5mins
Prep 35 mins
Cook 30 mins

Imam Bayilde means the Imam (Turkish priest) fainted. According to the story it was either because the food was so good or because of the amounts of oil used. This is my favorite recipe, I got it from a Turkish relative. Before this recipe my hubby would not eat eggplant. Now he begs me to make this dish as often as possible. It can be used as a main dish or a side dish. I usually count 1 eggplant and 1-2 onions per person. The excess oil used in this recipe is delicious and can be saved and used in salads later.

Directions

  1. Cut the eggplant in two lengthwise and cut a strip of skin about an inch wide off of the other side of it. Sprinkle salt on the eggplant and put it on some paper towels.
  2. Peel and slice the onions and peel the garlic cloves and set it aside.
  3. Take a big pot and pour a generous amount of oil in it, enough to partially cover the eggplant that you will put in later. Olive oil is best but any oil that can stand heat will do.
  4. When the oil gets warmed up you will see little streaks in it. Put in the eggplant. It is best to only fry two or three pieces at a time. When the eggplant has golden brown spots on both sides, fish it up and put it in a colander with a bowl under to drain the oil. This oil can also be saved.
  5. Do the same with the onion, garlic and red peppers.
  6. Put the eggplant in the bottom of a deep pyrex dish. Put the onions, garlic and peppers on top. Slice the tomatoes and arrange them on top of this and then top with a layer of tomato paste (you may have to thin it with some water). Garnish with salt, pepper and chilis.
  7. Put in the bottom of the oven at 250F for 30-45 minutes.
  8. Serve with bulgur or rice.

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