Imam Baildi with caramelized onions

A traditional Greek recipe, probably originating in Turkey (hence the name), is an ideal summer dish when aubergines are plentyful, and can be enjoyed hot or at room temperature. Our good friend Katerina Petri has given it a beautiful creative twist. Enjoy!


1 non-stick deep frying pan
1 oven dish

(For 4 portions)

4 aubergines (1 kg)
4 large red onions
1 tin finely chopped tomatoes or 200gr tomatoes cut in small pieces
1 carton (400ml) concentrated tomato juice
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 tsp garlic paste (garlic can beground to a paste in a pestle & mortar with some salt*
1 glass sweet red wine (Mavrodafni if you can get hold of it)
2 tbsp sugar
Fresh parsley
Olive oil
Coarse sea salt
Freshly ground pepper


  1. Cut the aubergines in half and score them deeply. Leave them in a basin full of salt and water for about 30 minutes and then let them drain on a kitchen towel.
  2. Chop the onions in 1cm cubes.
  3. Finely chop the parsley


  1. In a deep, non-stick frying pan, put a little olive oil and sautee the aubergines on both sides until they are soft and begin to brown. Place them side by side in an oven dish. (Alternatively, you can brush tem with oil and grill them on both sides)
  2. In the same pan, put a little more olive oil, and sautee the onions. Stirring with a wooden spoon, as soon as they begin to brown, add 1 tbsp of sugar and then the sweet wine.
  3. Without reducing the heat, as soon as the onions start caramelising, add the whole of the tomato ingredients, the rest of the sugar, salt & pepper and let it simmer. When it starts to thicken, swtch off the heat, and leaving the pan on in order to absorb all the liquids. Return the pan ingredients in the oven dish, covering the aubergines.
  4. Bake in a pre-heated oven for about 45 minutes at 180 degrees C (the baking time may vary depending on the oven). When you switch the oven off, leave the dish inside, for another 10-15 minutes in order to continue cooking, and to obtain a richer, thicker sauce.
  5. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the parsley (optional).
  6. You may also like to replace the parslay with crumbled feta cheese.

Another proposal
Sautee some peeled small potatoes (new potatoes) together with the aubergines. You can use them to cover the gaps between the aubergines in the oven dish. When you add the tomato-onion mixture to the pan, the potatoes will be covered as well.

* You can keep some pureed garlic with olive oil in a jar in the fridge. As well as the olive oil used for the puree, add a layer on top in order to preserve it. The quantity of garlic used in the recipe is purely personal taste.