Aubergines are some of the most popular vegetables in Romania during the hot summer months.
Alongside tomatoes and peppers,
aubergines are some of the favourite vegetables in Romania during the hot
summer months, but they are also used to make preserved spreads for the winter.
Whether grilled on an open fire or on the hob, aubergines are easily prepared and
can be eaten as a spread or used as filling for other vegetables. Sliced and lightly
fried or stuffed and then cooked in the oven and served with various sauces, aubergines
are very versatile vegetables to be eaten both as appetizer and as a main dish.
Aubergines were introduced to these
parts following the Ottoman expansion to Europe. The Turkish way of preparing
aubergines also spread, and the Turkish names of these dishes are still in use
today, such as moussaka, which can be made using minced meat.
A vegetable version of moussaka only
contains aubergines, potatoes, mushrooms, peppers, onions and sour cream. Here's
the recipe: You need 6 medium-sized potatoes, 2 medium-sized aubergines, half a
kilo of mushrooms, 2 onions and a bell pepper. Dice the potatoes and brown them
gently in oil then place them in an oven dish. Cut the aubergines into rounds
and fry them in a little oil until they get brown, then arrange them in a layer
on top of the potatoes. Finely cut the mushrooms, onions and the pepper and again
cook them in oil, then add on top of the aubergines. Warm the sour cream to
make it more liquid, then add on top, followed by a pinch of salt and some
finely chopped fresh dill. Put the dish in the oven and cook for some 45
minutes. You can also add some hard cheese towards the end. If you prefer a
lighter alternative, replace the sour cream with tomato juice, which goes well
with chopped fresh parsley instead of dill.
Another popular aubergine dish that
comes from Turkey is imam bayıldı, or stuffed aubergines, as it is known in
Romania. The Turkish name literally translates as "the imam fainted", which tells
you how delicious this dish is. Here's the recipe: You need 2 large aubergines,
2-3 onions, half a kilo of tomatoes, a head of garlic, 2-3 bell peppers, 2
carrots, a head of celeriac, a hot chili pepper, a bunch of fresh parsley and
some olive oil. Cut the stems from the top of the aubergines and cut them lengthwise
in half. Blanch them in hot water for a minute or two, remove, sprinkle with
salt and allow to drain for half an hour. Meanwhile, slice the onions, carrots,
celeriac, peppers, tomatoes and garlic. Fry the onion, then add the rest of the
vegetables save the garlic, which is added towards the end. Place the aubergines
halves in an oven tray, cut side up. Press with a spoon to make a hollow and spoon
the vegetable mixture inside, then sprinkle the finely sliced chili and some
chopped parsley on top. Put the tray in the oven and cook at medium heat for
half an hour, then transfer to a plate and add some more fresh parsley.