Melitzanes Imambaildi - Baked Aubergines Stuffed with Tomato Sauce - is of Turkish origin and was brought to Greece by the Greeks of Asia Minor after the exodus in 1922. My grandfather was one of them. When he married my grandmother in 1934 he set a condition: "I love you dearly", he told her, "but you must learn to cook meltzanes imambaildi." And truly she did! I'll never forget her delicious meltzanes imam baildi. She then taught my mother how to do them. As you can see in the picture above, my mother followed the tradition and she now boasts her imam. Here is the original recipe as it was written down in my grandma's cookery notebook.
Ingredients (5-6 servings)
6 medium-sized aubergines
4-5 onions cut in round slices
2-3 ripe tomatoes skinned and finely chopped
2 tomatoes cut into slices
3 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
3-4 garlic cloves (sliced)
2 teacups olive oil
2 teaspoons sugar
salt - pepper
1. Remove the stem ends of the aubergines and slice them in half - lengthwise .
2. Drop them in a pot of salted water for about 1 hour to remove their bitter juices.
3. Strain them well and fry them in plenty of oil over a medium fire.
4. Now arrange the fried aubergines in a baking dish.
5. Using a teaspoon scoop half their pulp out, place it in a bowl and keep it aside.
6. In a saucepan, sauté the onions adding the chopped tomatoes, the garlic, the reserved pulp, the parsley, the sugar, salt and pepper. Let them cook for about 20 minutes.over a medium fire.
7. Fill the aubergines with the prepared stuffing, cover each stuffed aubergine with a tomato slice and bake in medium oven for about 45 minutes
Source: The Best Traditional Recipes of Greek Cooking (Editions Haitalis)