Friday, January 22, 2010

Traditional Fried Eggplant with Tomato Sauce and Garlic Yogurt Sauce / Patlıcan Kızartması

Writer's Note: Last night I went to Andrew and Bonnie's house for dinner and board games. I brought this dish, and the börek. Both were a hit. Playing board games with graduate students is a bit like negotiating the Treaty of Versailles. You spend half your time refining and defining and quibbling over the rules, and the other half playing the game. Our team beat the other team, 3 to 0, yes, riding that high all day today. Thanks, A&B, for an evening of hilarity.

Fried eggplant with tomato sauce and garlic yogurt may be the quintessential Turkish side dish. Unfortunately, the amount of oil used to fry the eggplant will generally scare off the health conscious cook. I have adapted the recipe to make it more healthy, but equally satisfying, by broiling the eggplant instead of frying it.


4 small-medium eggplants
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. plus 1/4 tsp. plus 1/4 tsp. salt
10 fresh, ripe tomatoes, blanched and peeled, or 1 28 oz. can whole tomatoes without basil
2 tbsp. salted butter
3 cups thick traditional full-fat yogurt
pinch of sugar
3 garlic cloves
1/3 tsp. dried mint (optional)
1/3 tsp dried Aleppo pepper or paprika (optional)

Directions: Heat your broiler in your oven. If the broiler is part of your main oven unit, move the rack to the middle of the oven.

Cut the eggplants in 1/4 - 1/2 inch discs, you can also cut them in half if the eggplants are particularly large, but they will shrink as they broil. I like to use small eggplants so the discs are small and attractive, and also they don't fall apart easily. Line some pans with aluminum foil and generously brush the foil with olive oil.

Lay the eggplant in a single layer on the foil. Brush the tops of the eggplants sparingly with a marinade of 1 cup of olive oil and 1 teaspoon of salt. Broil the eggplants until they are brown and a little crispy, about 5-6 minutes. Turn them over halfway through and broil the other side for about 3-4 minutes. Some of they may stick -- if they break a bit don't worry, you can cover those with the tomato sauce. Discard any of the eggplant slices that are too browned or blackened. You may need to broil the eggplants in rounds if they do not fit in the oven at the same time. Do not put the eggplants on more than 1 rack in the oven at the same time, they will not cook properly. Also, do not bake them -- they will dry before they brown.

In the interim, dice the tomatoes and simmer with the butter and sugar and 1/4 tsp. salt for 20-30 minutes until the sauce is thick, a little thicker than pasta sauce. Make the garlic yogurt by pounding the garlic with salt in a mortar and pestle and adding to the yogurt.

Take the eggplants out of the oven and arrange on a platter with relatively curved sides (so the sauces don't run off) in an overlapping fashion. Spoon the tomato sauce over the eggplants and the garlic yogurt over the tomato sauce.

The three-layer appearance of the dish lovely! Do not stir to mix the ingredients. Finally, sprinkle the Aleppo pepper or paprika and dried mint on top, if you so desire.


  1. O - This was such a delicious meal! Thanks for the recipe and for helping to bring our games team to undefeated victory!

  2. As another beneficiary that night, I could not agree more. Delicious!

  3. Added a layer of ground/minced beef that was cooked with finely chopped onion between the eggplant layers with a thin layer of the sauce to bind , fabulous. Thank you for the recipe.