Sweet and Sour Aubergines from Claudia Roden


We’ve been wracking our brains for a blog post for a few days now, so Hilary thought, ‘why not do a recipe?’.  She was actually surprised to find we hadn’t posted this one before.  We make it constantly (and used to make it frequently in the UK where aubergines were higher in price and lower in quality).

It’s not Turkish but it does use ingredients readily available here year round.  Quantities are difficult as I tend to make it with the aubergines I have on hand and am not saving for something else…

Today I used two long, fairly thin aubergines (just under half a kilo), a medium to large sized onion, two cloves of garlic, a huge tomato, three dessertspoonsful of vinegar and one dessertspoonful of sugar (less in summer when the tomatoes are very sweet).  A good handfull of chopped parsley and a largish quantity of dried mint.  Salt and pepper.

First I cut the aubergines into chunks.  I quarter it lengthwise then chop the four pieces into wedges.  Then I put it in a colander with salt for twenty minutes to half an hour.  I don’t always do this with aubergines, but I do for this dish as it helps stop the aubergines from absorbing too much oil.  Whilst that is happening I chop the onions into half moon rings (piyazlık), chop the garlic up fairly small and put those to one side.  Then, in another bowl, I put the chopped up tomatoes (yes, in the UK I often used a can of plum tomatoes – usually a small can), along with the chopped parsley, dried mint, some pepper, the vinegar and the sugar.

onions-fryingHeat quite a lot of oil in a wide, shallow pan (I have an Ikea sautée pan which is absolutely ideal for this) and fry the onions till they are soft but not coloured.  Then add the garlic.

While this is happening I rinse the aubergine wedges, squeeze each handful and salted,-rinsed,-squeezed-andry on a towel.  As soon as the garlic has been stirred in, I throw in the aubergine wedges and stir, frying for about five minutes (or till they take on a bit of colour).  I then tip in the rest of the ingredients stir till it all combines, put on the lid and turn the heat down.

frying-nicelyThe time it takes from here on in depends a lot on the aubergines.  It should end up pretty mushy and combined and this usually takes 20 to 30 minutes.  It doesn’t need much attention, just the occasional stir to ensure it doesn’t burn.

I guess it could be eaten hot, but it’s much nicer if you allow it to cool down.  It keeps in the fridge for three to four days (much like any zeytinyağlı mezze).

13 responses to “Sweet and Sour Aubergines from Claudia Roden

  1. . . hmmm! Think I’ll stick with the beer – aubergine was never a favorite.

    • I have a friend who does not like aubergines. I really don’t understand her. I guess there are just some people who do not like aubergines, and that leaves more for those of us who do!

  2. Alan – How can you not like aubergines?

  3. All food is always welcome, but since you made the comment re things to write about, I have a couple of puzzles about Selcuk you can certainly help with.
    1. How is Selcuk museum coming along? Is there an opening date set? What will the new museum look like. Will there be new exhibits?
    2. There are some small Seljuk mosques around Selcuk. I would like to know more about them than just the plaques on the building. How about some sleuthing?
    I like your blog very much and look in from time to time.

    • Thanks…
      The museum is currently a large hole. A friend did see some concrete being poured in about a month ago, but no more news than that, I’m afraid.
      We have a friend who is an expert on Islamic Architecture. We will ask him. Next time he is in Selcuk. He has told us that the area was under the control of Seljuks until relatively late in history, so maybe that’s part of the explanation.

  4. I don’t like aubergines either, and I have tried so many recipes in the hope that I might grow to like them. It’s a pity really, because they do look attractive and appetising.

  5. Although…I might add that I just remembered one recipe that had aubergines in it that I enjoyed and that was something BacktoBodrum made for lunch recently, using lavas bread…that was nice. Maybe it was because they were disguised!

    • Hilary adores aubergines. She likes pretty well every sort of vegetable but aubergines are a favourite. And there are so many wonderful ways to eat them. I know some people take a dislike to them…. is it the taste or the texture?

      • I think it’s a bit of both…taste and texture. Although BtoB used the pulp after roasting them then spread between sheets of lavas bread with cheese..it was delicious.

  6. Yummy – i’m going to try this!

  7. This recipe looks like a corker – I’m definitely going to give it a go on my two-ring hotplate here in Beirut 😉

    By the way, I’ve really been enjoying your blog – I must admit, I’m a little jealous of you living where you do. Istanbul is lovely and all, but it doesn’t have a patch on the area you live in!

    • It should work. Ours has been carried over to the two ring hotplate in the back house when the gas runs out. We love Istanbul too, but small town living seems to suit us well. Being a Londoner I wasn’t sure that it would.

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