Foodiva's Kitchen: 5 Star Makeover: Inside Out Melitzanes Imam Baildi – Eggplant, Sesame and Fig Stuffed in Tomato

Thursday, July 26, 2012

5 Star Makeover: Inside Out Melitzanes Imam Baildi – Eggplant, Sesame and Fig Stuffed in Tomato


This month’s theme of the 5 Star Makeover Challenge hosted by our talented friends, Lazaro of Lazaro Cooks and Natasha of Five Star Foodie is Greek Meze. We were supposed to put our own spin on a classic Greek meze dish or create something new altogether to bring to the table.

Greek food is something that’s fairly unfamiliar to me, as I’ve never been to Greece and there aren’t any Greek restaurants out here in Brunei. My meze experience has therefore been limited to Turkish and Middle Eastern ones, and luckily there are many similarities between these and the Greek meze. So this is my take on an originally Turkish dish that’s become a Greek classic, Imam Baildi, literally meaning “the imam fainted”.


Traditionally, Imam Baildi are boatshaped, hollowed out eggplants stuffed with vegetables and herbs, and topped with tomatoes and/or cheese. In my version,  I decided to turn the Imam Baildi inside out and stuff the eggplants inside tomatoes instead. I could easily have used red tomatoes, but I quite fancied the idea of pairing tart green tomatoes against a sweet, savory and nutty filling. As it happened, there was an abundance of green tomatoes in my mother’s garden so I used those and they were perfectly bite-sized.

What I did was to scoop out and chop up the insides of the 6 small tomatoes and 2 eggplants, sauté all that in 2 tablespoons olive oil for about 10 minutes along with chopped dried figs, fresh oregano, ground cinnamon and cumin, garlic, onion until softened. That filling was then seasoned with salt and pepper and stuffed into the hollowed tomatoes, topped with black sesame seeds and these were roasted for 15-20 minutes in a hot oven, not too long so the tomatoes still retained their shape and had a bit of a crunch. 

I had read somewhere that during the Great Lent, about 40 days before the Greek Holy Easter, most Greeks would fast and avoid eating meat and dairy products. So this would be a suitable, quick and tasty vegan dish that could complement any meze spread in a Greek kitchen during that time.


Lazaro will be doing a round-up of all the participants’ meze offerings on Friday, and because I’ve already seen some fantastic and creative ideas from the others, let me assure that you won’t want to miss that post. You can recreate some of these dishes for munchies for when you watch the opening of the London Olympics that very same day. Better still, gather some friends and family round that day for a proper meze party to celebrate the Games!

46 comments:

Gloria said...

look absolutely nice!

Maya Mohd said...

Thank you so much, Gloria! :)

Lazaro Cooks said...

Your food is fabulous. Though-process, dish creation, plating.

A+++

Lazaro Cooks said...

Thought-process...typo.

Maya Mohd said...

Laz, appreciate and humbled by your comments here. I never ever got an A+++ in school so I know this is a biggie, especially coming from you! :)

Licia said...

Molto invitante,brava!

Maya Mohd said...

Grazie mille, Licia!

Trix said...

Of course I knew your dish would be clever and fun to read about, and you did not disappoint! I love anything with green tomatoes, and the spices here are fabulous.

Spicie Foodie said...

Hi Maya,
Meze is one of my favorite ways of eating. I like them all Greek, Turkish and Middle Eastern. I love that yours is savory with a little bit of sweet-it really brings flavors of the region together.

Natasha Price said...

Such gorgeous little savory treats! I love the addition of figs!

Cher Rockwell said...

You know I am always in awe of how your mind works :-) And, I think green tomatoes don't get anywhere near enough love....

Cheap Ethnic Eatz said...

Wow, no Greek restaurants out in Brunei. It must be a question time;-) I think the fact hat you were not influenced gave you a lot more creativity. Your meze looks tantalizing.

Victoria said...

I'm familiar with imam baildi and love it! This is a really cool variation of it, and of course a beautiful presentation. The green tomatoes were a great idea :) Hope you're well!

Shannon said...

love the outside-in idea here, these came out great :)

Chef Glover said...

Your blog is an inspiration to those like me who are just starting out. I love you all your ideas and will continue to give support. Great Job.

Chef Glover said...

lol, meant to say * I love all your ideas.

Maya Mohd said...

Trix, I can't vouch for the authenticity or Greek-ness of this dish but at least I think the flavors are spot on. Thank you, dearest!

Maya Mohd said...

Nancy, you know I have this thing for sweet, sour and savory flavor profiles. Now if only there was a bit of heat in this (I thought it wasn't too Greek so I left it out), it would've been perfect! :)

Maya Mohd said...

Natasha, I only wish I had access to fresh figs over here. That would've been so divine!

Maya Mohd said...

Cher, that's probably because our minds work the same way...never simple and always with a tendency for humor. You're right, green tomatoes are the world's biggest secret! Lol

Maya Mohd said...

Evelyne @Cheap Ethnic Eatz, I was profoundly scared at first because I wasn't sure if this dish would even be fit to be served on a Greek meze table. But then I chilled out completely when I realized that hey, this is a Makeover after all! :)

Maya Mohd said...

Thank you Victoria, I'm sure this is like no imam baildi you've ever envisaged or eaten, lol.

Maya Mohd said...

Thank you Shannon, sometimes if I don't really know what I'm doing, turning a recipe on its head seems like a very good idea :). So that's exactly what I did!

Maya Mohd said...

Chef Glover, thank you very much for your kind words of encouragement and support. I really don't mind if you love me, but I'm glad that you think my ideas are good too! :)

Faith said...

I love your take on this dish! Stuffing the eggplant inside the tomato was such a fun twist!

Torviewtoronto said...

very neat looks wonderful

Sandra M. said...

Are you back? i am happy if you are:)
anyhow..i really love Greek, and you did great job making these. Beautiful presentation!

Marisa said...

These little stuffed tomatoes are filled with so many delicious things! The combination of flavors sounds fantastic.

Trevor Sis Boom said...

Great job on this challenge Maya! I love inside out food! :)

Mary Hirsch said...

I saw you had made this on 5 Star Foodie's Link. Way to go. It looks very, very sophisticated and I know its delicious. My neighbors just gave me a sack of figs so I am going to use these flavors and come up with something. Fresh figs, not dried, but love your combination.

Gerry @Foodness Gracious said...

Lovely jubbly, I want that serving platter..maybe for Christmas?? I hope your doing well Miss M?

Maya Mohd said...

Faith, it was probably my lack of knowledge on Greek food that caused me to come up with something the Greeks would probably throw their arms up at! Lol

Maya Mohd said...

Sandra, I've never been away except from IG. I just wanted to concentrate a bit more on this neglected blog, but I'm around, girl! :)

Maya Mohd said...

Marisa, thank you, the flavor profile worked really well. The only thing that could probably have made it better was if I had fresh figs available!

Maya Mohd said...

Trevor, I love inside-out everything! Food included *winks*

Maya Mohd said...

Mary, I totally, totally envy you for those fresh figs! I'm moving to be near you - and your neighbor ;)

Maya Mohd said...

Foodness Gracious - I'm doing alright, Mr. G! Living one day at a time. Thank you for your love and support, just for that I wish I could send you a care package of these Imam Baildis for Christmas! Ok, perhaps just a greeting card with a delicious shot of them, then.

Cakelaw said...

These look so cute, and I love the idea of using figs in the stuffing.

love2dine said...

wonderful presentation. i don't really like egg plant... but might check out your recipe.

lostpastremembered said...

Another brilliant dish. What a cool idea to turn an ancient classic on its ear and fill the tomato full of all those great flavors. You can't beat the name, and you have made it gorgeous. Bravo!!

Priscilla - ShesCookin said...

You know I love eggplant - and sweet/savory flavor combinations :) Fabulous contribution to our meze table - your idea to turn Imam Baildis inside-out and use green tomatoes is genius.

Magic of Spice said...

How delightful...such gorgeous flavors, and presentation! This is amazing Maya!

Tanantha said...

I'm not familiar with Greek food too but you did pull it off really well, Maya! It looks delicious and the love your presentation!

Joan Nova said...

Beautifully presented and I like that you added fig to give it a little sweet-savory.

Lori Lynn said...

Hi Maya - such a terrific addition to the makeover! Love the inside-out concept. the flavors here sound very harmonious. And such a pretty plating too.
LL

Free Spirit Eater said...

This looks delicious! And I am loving the presentation! Beautiful array of colors, the plating and design, wow! Fab job on the challenge! =]

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