World Food Challenge

Day 118: Montenegro and Imam Bayildi

Good evening, Raffies!

Today we are going to Montenegro and we are making a dish that can actually be found all over the Middle East: Imam Bayildi.

This simple dish involves a lot of olive oil and aubergines. The legend behind this dish narrates that the imam married the daughter of an olive oil merchant. The girl used to make dinner with a lot of oil, aubergines, tomatoes and onions. On the thirteenth day, when his wife told him that there were no more olive oil left, he fainted. (This is actually just one of the numerous versions to the story).

Well, here’s tonight’s recipe:

2 aubergines
2 medium onions, chopped
3 tomatoes, chopped
4 tbsp parsley, chopped
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1 tbsp mint, chopped
1/2 c olive oil, generous
1 tsp sugar
1 lemon, juice
salt
pepper

In a pan, sauté the onions. Add the garlic, tomatoes, salt and pepper and cook until it becomes a dense sauce. Add the mint and parsley.
Cut the aubergines in half. On each half make 3 cuts that go almost from end-to-end and that are approximately 1 cm deep.
Now heat up the oil in a big skillet and fry the aubergines, with thew cut side down. When it is golden-brown, flip it and fry for a few more minutes.
Now place the aubergines on some kitchen paper with the cut side down, in order to absorb most of the oil.
Heat the oven at 180°C and place the halves in a form. Put the sauce in the cuts and cook for 40 minutes. Sprinkle the sugar and lemon juice on top and  decorate with some more mint and parsley.
Enjoy with crispy bread.

It was delightful. The flavour was perfect and the aubergines were wonderfully done. I almost fainted when I realised I had lived all these years without ever having tried this dish.

Love,

Raffi

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