Imam Bayildi from Turkey


Yesterday I asked my Instagram followers if there was something that they wanted me to cook and the consensus was a veggie main with spices.  I have been doing quite a lot of Middle Eastern recipe research this week for my charity dinner for Health Point Foundation and one of the dishes that I am going to be serving up is this Turkish classic.  Here I have simplified the dish a little to make it even easier and it has the added bonus of being vegan too.  Serve it with some sourdough toast to mop up the sauce and lemony couscous.


Serves 4


2 medium aubergine, halved

3 tbsp olive oil

1/2 red pepper, deseeded and roughly chopped

1 medium white onion, diced

1 tbsp tomato purée

4 garlic cloves, diced

splash of white wine (optional)

1/3 vegetable stock cube

200g tinned tomatoes

1 tsp dired oregano

2 level tsp cumin powder

2 level tsp paprika powder

handful fresh oregano, plus extra for garnishing (you can use parsley as an alternative)

1 tsp caster sugar

sea salt and black pepper

Preheat oven to 190 degrees and line a baking tray with baking parchment.  Carefully scored the aubergine flesh so you have a criss-cross pattern.  Be careful not to cut through to the skin.  Brush with olive oil and place into the oven for 20 minutes or until the flesh has softened.  Scoop out the flesh into a bowl with a spoon.

In a large saucepan add the olive oil to heat up and then add the chopped onion, red pepper and fry for 5 minutes to soften.  Then add the aubergine flesh to the pan and fry for another few minutes.  Next add in the tomato purée and diced garlic frying for another 3 minutes.  If using wine add in now!  Next pour in the tinned tomatoes and half fill the empty tin with water dissolving in the 3rd of a stock cube.   Pour this into the pan and stir everything around.  Add the oregano, spices, sugar and season with salt and pepper.  Bring the sauce to the boil and then to a simmer for about ten minutes or until the red pepper has softened and the liquid has reduced a bit.  Roughly chop the fresh oregano and add this to the sauce.  Spoon the sauce into the aubergine halves and any left over sauce can be used for pasta.  Bake in the oven for about 35-40 minutes or until the aubergine sides have softened.  These can be made the day before and warmed up.  They get better with age! You could crumble over with some feta or add a dollop of Greek yoghurt.  

Nina ParkerComment