Eggplant, also known as aubergine in English, is a vegetable used in many dishes and enjoyed from the Ottoman times to the present.

In the past, eggplants were called “fish of the fields” since as they grew in the fields they resembled shiny fish swimming in the sea. In fact, the skin of eggplants was compared to fish scales. The first published Turkish cookbook, Melce’üt-Tabbâhîn (1844), recorded a recipe for “Stuffed Fake Fish.” Etymologically, patlıcan, the Turkish word for eggplant, derives from the Persian word badingan; in early sources, eggplant was also referred to as batlıcan, badıcan, or badıncan. The earliest record in the world of an eggplant is found in a book written in China in the 5th century. In Divânü Lugâti’t-Türk, the first Turkish dictionary, pickled eggplant was referred to as “bütüge.” Among others, stuffed pickled eggplant, and eggplant with yogurt and garlic, mentioned in one of the works by Muhammad bin Mahmud Shirvani, a 15th-century physician, are still prepared in today’s cuisine. “Eggplant jam” was among the sweets served at the circumcision celebration held for Bayezid and Cihangir, the shahzadas of Süleyman the Magnificent in the 16th century. In his book of travels, the 17th-century traveler Evliya Çelebi mentions a variety of eggplants including corn eggplant, purple eggplant, Morean eggplant, stuffed and pickled eggplant. 

In the 18th and 19th centuries, the eggplant became even more popular. However, fires frequently broke out after pans filled with oil were heated to cook eggplants and were then forgotten unattended. These major fires spread rapidly because Istanbul’s streets were narrow and the houses were generally wooden, and came to be known in history as “eggplant fires.” In Melce’üt-Tabbâhîn, Mehmet Kamil recorded many recipes ranging from eggplant patties to rice, stuffed eggplant to pickled eggplant, eggplant with lamb’s feet to imam bayıldı (whole eggplant stuffed with onion, garlic and tomatoes).

As a chef, recipes with eggplant are among the most delicious dishes I prepare. I would like to share with you two recipes that I enjoy very much. 

 

 

Braised Lamb And Eggplant 

 

In the past, eggplants were called “fish of the fields” since as they grew in the fields they resembled shiny fish swimming in the sea. In fact, the skin of eggplants was compared to fish scales. The first published Turkish cookbook, Melce’üt-Tabbâhîn (1844), recorded a recipe for “Stuffed Fake Fish.” Etymologically, patlıcan, the Turkish word for eggplant, derives from the Persian word badingan; in early sources, eggplant was also referred to as batlıcan, badıcan, or badıncan. The earliest record in the world of an eggplant is found in a book written in China in the 5th century. In Divânü Lugâti’t-Türk, the first Turkish dictionary, pickled eggplant was referred to as “bütüge.” Among others, stuffed pickled eggplant, and eggplant with yogurt and garlic, mentioned in one of the works by Muhammad bin Mahmud Shirvani, a 15th-century physician, are still prepared in today’s cuisine. “Eggplant jam” was among the sweets served at the circumcision celebration held for Bayezid and Cihangir, the shahzadas of Süleyman the Magnificent in the 16th century. In his book of travels, the 17th-century traveler Evliya Çelebi mentions a variety of eggplants including corn eggplant, purple eggplant, Morean eggplant, stuffed and pickled eggplant. 

In the 18th and 19th centuries, the eggplant became even more popular. However, fires frequently broke out after pans filled with oil were heated to cook eggplants and were then forgotten u nattended. These major fires spread rapidly because Istanbul’s streets were narrow and the houses were generally wooden, and came to be known in history as “eggplant fires.” In Melce’üt-Tabbâhîn, Mehmet Kamil recorded many recipes ranging from eggplant patties to rice, stuffed eggplant to pickled eggplant, eggplant with lamb’s feet to imam bayıldı (whole eggplant stuffed with onion, garlic and tomatoes).

As a chef, recipes with eggplant are among the most delicious dishes I prepare. I would like to share with you two recipes that I enjoy very much. 

 

1 kg diced lamb / 6 eggplants /
2 tablespoons butter / ½ teaspoon cinnamon / ½ teaspoon black pepper /
½ teaspoon salt

 

Cook the eggplants (with skins) in an oven at 180°C for 25-30 minutes. Fry the diced meat on a low heat with the salt and butter. Continue to cook the meat for a further 30 minutes on a very low heat after the liquid from the meat has evaporated. Remove all the skin from the eggplants and place them in a pan. Add the previously cooked meat onto the eggplants and cover the pan with a lid. Cook this again on a low heat for about 20 minutes. Place the cooked eggplant and meat onto a plate and add black pepper and cinnamon before serving.

 

Eggplant Dessert

 

1 kg eggplants / 200 g walnuts / 5 egg yolks / ½ teaspoon cinnamon / ½ teaspoon salt / 1 kg sugar / 1 liter water / 

Cooking oil for frying

 

Prepare the syrup by boiling the water and sugar, leave to cool. Peel the eggplant skin in strips and slice the eggplant into long slices. Beat the egg yolks with water. When the eggplant has dried, dip into the egg yolk mix and fry in hot oil. Put the fried eggplant slices into a tray, place the crushed walnuts into the center of the eggplant, and roll them up. Pour the syrup over the rolled eggplants and leave for an hour. Sprinkle cinnamon over the dessert before serving.  

 

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