Imam Bayildi (Stuffed Eggplant)
Time for another installment of /52weeksofcooking – this time featuring a Turkish dish! I’ve had Turkish food a few times, but I’ll be honest in that it’s not a regular cuisine in our house tho after making this eggplant dish that might have to change! In order to figure out a recipe I searched the menu of a few local Turkish restaurants, to get an idea of what kind of vegetarian dishes were out there. I saw so many different eggplant dishes – it was insane! Now figuring out what kind of eggplant dish, that was a bit of a challenge. I debated doing an appetizer I found called Saksuka but in the end decided it was too close to the Shakshuka dish I’ve already done – which defeats the purpose of this challenge. So I decided to go with a stuffed eggplant dish, specifically Imam Bayildi. This dish features eggplant, tomatoes, onion, and garlic in addition to HUGE amounts of olive oil.
With our 4 eggplant sections I did half with the cheese and half without and for once Joe preferred the cheese-less option while I went for the cheesy ones! It’s not your normal cheese, and I think that’s part of the reason I enjoyed it – the texture actually reminded me of daiya. With that said, Daiya would make a great option for this and would probably go for a non-meltable in order to recreate the firmer texture this cheese had as the contrast was rather nice. Of course there is nothing wrong with going totally naked in the cheese department – gotta love flexible dishes! I served this up with some garlicky green beans and had planned to include some lentils but in the end decided there was already enough going on. In the future I might include some pre-cooked lentils in the eggplant stuffing in order to “beef” them up – again with the flexibility 😀