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Rhetoretician -- Fiction etc.

Imam Bayeldi

Imam Bayeldi

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Teapot & Hands
gabrielladusult  requested veggie recipes for Lent. I have several favorite veggie recipes, although it seems to me (from my nonbeliever perspective) that they're so good that they sort of miss the whole point of giving up meat for Lent. But what do I know about it?

Here's the first one.

  ***

Janice's Imam Bayeldi
(Originally taken from Treasured Armenian Recipes, 1949)

"Imam Bayeldi" means "The Imam fainted." There are numerous theories as to why he fainted. My favorite three are:

  • He fainted because the flavor was so wonderful.
  • He fainted from desire for his new wife, because the dish has such aphrodisiac qualities.
  • He fainted when he realized how much the dish must have cost to make, with all that olive oil
       


    Anyway, here’s the recipe to serve 4 (but we usually make a double recipe):

    1 large eggplant or 2 small ones
    1 green pepper, chopped
    3 medium onions, cut lengthwise
    1 clove garlic, cut fine
    ½ cup olive oil, plus additional oil for brushing
    ¼ bunch parsley, chopped
    1 tomato cut into small pieces
    1½ tsp. salt
    ½ tsp. pepper
    1 TB tomato paste mixed with ½ cup water

    Cut eggplant lengthwise into 6 pieces and sprinkle each piece with salt. Let stand for 1 hour. Dry each piece with a clean towel. Brush well with olive oil and bake in a 450º oven until they are light brown.

    Heat the oil and put in all the ingredients except the parsley and tomatoes. Cook until soft. Then add parsley and tomatoes and cook a few minutes more.

    Arrange the eggplant slices on a baking pan. Slit open the slices and fill with the onion-pepper mixture, then cover that with the tomato paste mixture. Bake in a 375º oven for 30 minutes

    Can be served hot or cold. Room temperature is best.
  • Is it soo good my husband won't notice he doesn't like eggplant? (Some eggplant dishes are that good!). Sounds lovely. I think I'll make it anyway and he can go hungry.
    • Oh, it's just getting into eggplant season in your hemisphere, isn't it? Perfect timing!

      Imam bayeldi isn't really about egglpant; it's really about olive oil. That's the way to think of it. (Janice sometimes serves it at Hannuka for that reason.)

      By the bye, happy birthday, Bel. Sorry I didn't say so before.
      • Maybe I'll just not mention it has eggplant in it and then he'll not realise. I have no idea whether it's in season or not. It's something it's possible to buy all year round. Even after 15 years, I haven't worked out when fruit and vegetables are in season here (other than apples). It doesn't seem to reflect the seasons in Europe. I tend to just keep my fingers crossed I can buy something.

        You were probably wise to miss my birthday. Annette would have probably made you buy shoes if you'd dared to show up. Thanks for the belated greetings.
  • Hmm...I'd just as soon my husband not desire me so much that he faints.

    Thank you for posting this. Are you supposed to peel the eggplant? I always do for my Italian recipes, so I wasn't sure if it was just assumed or if you can/should leave the peel on.
    • Metaphor, it's a metaphor, Amy. The Admiral won't faint from desire, he'll just -- never mind.

      I prefer eggplant dishes (including the Italian ones) with the peel still on. I think Janice does it both ways.
      • The Admiral won't faint from desire, he'll just --

        What? Get really red ears? LOL.

        Eggplants are probably better for you with the peels, eh? I wondered because when you offered the imam bayeldi recipe, and I looked it up to find out what it was, I found another recipe which involved scooping the flesh out of the eggplant, blanching the shells, then returning the mixture into the eggplant "boats" to bake. A reviewer of the recipe suggested for potlucks to peel the eggplant, cut it into chunks, and bake in a casserole dish. That recipe also included cinnamon, which I am so-so on in main courses.

        Anyway, I look forward to trying this recipe soon.
    • I've never thought of peeling eggplant. Is there a trick to doing it? I hardly ever cook it because my husband doesn't like it but he might like it more without the peel.
      • Hmm -- when I found a recipe, it said to peel it, so I did. I just used a standard vegetable peeler after cutting a little off the top to geve myself an edge to traction from. I've read that eggplants can be bitter, though the author of the article attributed that to the seeds. I bet if you peeled your eggplant, your husband wouldn't be able to tell the difference between that and a generic squash.

        I could be wrong, though -- I'm assuming he's as clueless about such things as my own dear Admiral.
      • He's actually a very good cook - far more adventurous and inventive than I am. Plus his penchent for the 24 hour cookery channel (despite all the meat they cook on the shows) means he is far more up to date than I am. But I'm hoping that the fact he never eats eggplant will mean he won't notive when I make this, especially if I peel it first!
      • The eggplant's bitterness is in the flesh itself, not the peel or the seeds. That's why you salt it and wipe away the water that comes out. The salt draws out the bitterness. (Personally I rinse the eggplant rather than just wiping it, but then I really try to keep sodium levels low.)
      • Eggplant and squash taste really different, though. It's not as if you can replace one for the other... Just the thought of Baba Ganoush made with squash gives me the creeps.
  • That does sound good. Actually eggplant,onions, and tomato are soul mates. Any combination (along with buttered bread crumbs) taste great.

    Did you know one our student workers is a Jain from India. a pagan salvation religion that forbids (along with meat) anything grown undergound. So that means, no onions, no garlic, no carrots, no parasnips, no potato, etc. During student get togethers, we had to keep thinking of ways to invent meatless food without anything above! As a slavation based religon, that would put it up with Christianity. Wonder what he would eat for lent?
    • Wow. Makes eating kosher for Passover sound like a walk in the park.

      I'm not really a fan of buttered bread crumbs. Certainly not in this dish, anyway.
    • I'm wondering if 'slavation' is a typo or a Freudian slip?
      • Probabky a slip. My husband thinks anything salvation IS slavation. I did spell it write the first time!

        The Jain religion is facscinating though. Unusual because most pagen religions are Karma based, not salvation (which most monothesitic religions are rooted in).

        In Karma, like all good pagens you try to live a better life in the present, so you return for a better one in the future.

        In Jain, you have one life to live, so you better make it a good one. Vishal (my studen) would rather die then step on a bug. Very much like the Orthadox Judaism I was raised in.
  • I haven't heard #2 before, but I sure prefer that reason! *grins* I think I need to try this - we don't eat eggplant, as Godessita reacted badly to it when she was younger. She once had two bites of an eggplant-pasta dish my aunt had made before she refused to have any more. I didn't understand it, and she usually devoured food. Then I wiped her mouth, and discovered that all the places that had been touched by the sauce had a rally bad rash. Maybe now she'll be ok with it? I have to try, as this is sooo good. Maybe one day when the kids are at the grandparents' so that I can enjoy the effect of the dish? *nods* Yeah, that's it...
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