Stuffed Baby Eggplants (Imam Bayeldi)

(recipe, Madhur Jaffrey)


These melt-in-the-mouth eggplants may be served with any Mediterranean bean dish and some crusty whole-wheat bread. A yogurt relish on the side would complete the meal.


  1. 8 small Italian eggplants (about 3 ounces each), 4 to 5 inches long, preferably with sepals attached
  2. Peanut or canola oil
  3. Salt
  4. 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  5. ½ large onion, finely chopped
  6. 2 tsp. garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  7. 2 large tomatoes, peeled and finely chopped
  8. 1 tsp. salt
  9. Freshly ground black pepper
  10. 4 Tbsp. parsley, finely chopped


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Peel 3 strips about ⅓-inch wide down each eggplant, so they have a striped appearance. Rub generously with oil and salt and place in a baking dish. Cover with a lid or foil and bake for 1 hour, or until softened and cooked through.
  3. Meanwhile, make the filling. Put the olive oil in a frying pan and set it over medium heat. When hot, put in the onion and garlic. Stir and cook for about 4 minutes, or until the garlic and onion have softened. Put in the tomatoes, salt, and pepper to taste. Stir and bring to a simmer. Turn the heat down to low and simmer gently for 7 to 8 minutes, or until the tomatoes have softened and the liquid has thickened. Add the parsley, stir once, and turn off the heat.
  4. Remove the eggplants from the oven and arrange in a serving dish. Cut a pocket in each eggplant this way: Starting ¼ inch from the top, cut a long slit that stops ¼ inch from the bottom. The slit should be deep but not go all the way through. In order to widen the slit, push the eggplant very gently from the top and the bottom toward the center. Ladle ⅛ of the filling into each pocket. Serve hot or chilled.


If you cannot get small eggplants, use 4 larger ones and bake them until they are tender.