Serves: 4 as a side dish
This recipe is based on a dish that my grandmother used to make and that my mom still makes. In our family it always was called “imam bayalda,” which is the name of a Turkish/Bulgarian dish that also is eggplant-based but is prepared quite differently. Our version of “imam bayalda” actually is more like ratatouille. It’s a thick, flavorful stew of eggplant, carrots, onions, tomatoes and garlic. In Russia, we usually ate it cold, as part of an appetizer spread or as one of two or three supper dishes. It’s also delicious warm and makes a great side dish or topping for pasta, rice or couscous.
- 4 tablespoons oil, divided Add to list
- 1 large eggplant, cubed Add to list
- 1/2 large onion, diced Add to list
- 2 medium carrots, diced Add to list
- 2 medium to large tomatoes, coarsely chopped Add to list
- 5 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped Add to list
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste Add to list
- 1 cup water Add to list
- Salt, sugar and vinegar to taste (can substitute lemon juice or citric acid in place of vinegar) Add to list
In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, heat 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the eggplant and toss to coat it in the oil. Add 1/4 cup water and cook, stirring occasionally, on medium heat until the eggplant is cooked down to about half of its original volume.
Meanwhile, sauté the onions in the remaining oil. Add the onions, carrots, tomatoes, garlic, tomato paste and 3/4 cup water to the eggplant and simmer on medium low, stirring occasionally, until the carrots are tender. Add a little more water if the stew becomes too thick or sticks to the bottom of the pot.
Season with salt, sugar and vinegar to achieve your preferred balance of salty, sweet and sour (the sweet and sour flavors should be more prominent than the saltiness). Serve hot or cold.
Recipe by, PCC Cooks instructor
Source: PCC Sound Consumer, November 2010
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