Baked Aubergine with Coriander & Pomegranate
This is a take on the famous Turkish dish ‘Imam Bayildi’, a delicious combination of baked, silky, smooth aubergines with an aromatic stuffing. Legend has it that the Imam fainted with pleasure after tasting it. I’m not sure if I fainted the first time but it has become one of my all-time favourite dishes. If you are planning on improving your diet by eating less meat then this is a great dish, if you are cutting out dairy products as well then it is also suitable for a vegan diet. Personally, I’m going down the road of eating less meat and making sure that the meat I eat is better quality and the result of a higher welfare standard.
You could serve these aubergines as part of mezze type meal (lots of little dishes served before a meal). These could be hummus, falafel (see my own recipe for these), spicy sausage, cheese, stuffed vegetables, olives and tzatziki etc. I love all these little dishes, with bigger portions, for a pick & nibble more sociable sort of meal.
Give it a go, try not to faint and enjoy this meal with friends.
BAKED AUBERGINE WITH CORIANDER AND POMEGRANATE
Serves 6 (as part of mezze type meal) or 2/3 as a main course
3 large aubergines
2 tbsp. olive oil plus more for brushing
2 lge onions, chopped small
2 garlic cloves, chopped small (or crushed if you prefer)
½ teasp cinnamon
¼ teasp Ras al Hanout
8 large, ripe, tomatoes
Small bunch fresh, flat leaved parsley, chopped roughly
Lge bunch of fresh coriander, chopped roughly
Juice of 1 small lemon
- Prepare the aubergines by cutting in half lengthways-(so that each half ‘sits’ on the uncut side rather than rolling over i.e. parallel to the long axis) Score the flesh deeply and also go around the edge cutting into the flesh about a cm down-this really helps when you come to scooping out the flesh without breaking the aubergine ‘shell’. Brush well with a good layer of olive oil it is very absorbent so you will need more than you think. Roast in baking pan for about 20 minutes at about 190C, Gas 5 until it is soft. Leave it to cool before trying to scoop the flesh out.
- Fry the chopped onions in olive oil until well browned then add the garlic, cinnamon and Ras al Hanout, fry for 1 minute. Take care not to burn the garlic.
- When the aubergines are cold scoop the flesh out, chop it up roughly and add it to the onions.
- Prepare the tomatoes-halve them. Over a bowl scoop out the seeds and juice-I find it easy to do this by pushing in my (clean) thumbs! Chop the flesh roughly-don’t add the juice/pips. Add to the pan and cook everything for about 10 minutes adding a little more olive oil if needed.
- Add most of the chopped parsley and coriander reserving a little of each to sprinkle on the top at the end.
- Pile the mixture back into the shells and bake for about 20 minutes.
- Leave to cool a little before eating, with some fresh coriander leaves and a squeeze of fresh lemon. Sprinkle with some pomegranate pips-you can now buy them in small snack packs which are very convenient.