- 150g white basmati rice
- 400g tomatoes
- 1 red pepper
- 2 onions
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 aubergines
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp caster sugar
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- A handful of dill, leaves only
- 100g baby leaf spinach
- 6 tsp olive oil
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- 300ml boiling water
Prep: 15 mins | Cook: 40 mins
1. Heat your oven to 220°C/Fan 200°C/Gas 8. Pop the rice in a bowl and cover with cold water. Set aside to soak.
2. Chop the tomatoes into small chunks. Halve the pepper and scoop out the pith and seeds. Chop it into small pieces. Peel and chop the onions. Place all the veg on a baking tray. Drizzle over 2 tsp oil and plenty of seasoning. Drop on the garlic cloves. Roast in the oven for 20 mins till the veg is softened and slightly charred.
3. While the veg roast, halve the aubergines lengthways. Lightly score a criss-cross pattern into the flesh, taking care not to score all the way through to the skin. Brush 1 tsp oil over each half and season. Pop on a baking tray and slide into the oven on the shelf below the veg for 20 mins.
4. After the veg have roasted for 20 mins, take them out of the oven. Remove the roast garlic cloves. Tip the tomatoes and peppers into a pan. Squeeze the garlic flesh from the skins and add to the pan. Add 1 tsp each of cumin and sugar. Add ½ tsp ground cinnamon. Stir and bring to a bubble for 10 mins.
5. Take the aubergines out of the oven. Scoop out the flesh with a teaspoon, leaving a wall about ½cm thick around the edge of each aubergine. Roughly chop the scooped aubergine flesh. Finely chop the soft dill fronds.
6. Add the chopped aubergine and half the dill to the tomato sauce. Taste. Add more salt, pepper or sugar if it needs it. Spoon into the aubergine shells. Return them to the oven and bake for 20 more mins till just browned.
7. While the aubergines bake, drain the rice. Tip it into a small pan. Add 300ml boiling water and a pinch of salt. Cover. Bring to the boil then turn the heat down and simmer for 8 mins till all the water is absorbed.
8. Roughly chop the baby leaf spinach and add to the rice after it has cooked for 8 mins. Take off the heat and set aside, lid on, for 5 mins to steam.
9. Arrange the aubergines (your imam bayildi) on 2 warm plates with the rice. Scatter over the remaining chopped dill to serve.