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Be inspired every day with Living North
Lizzie Mayson
January 2021
Reading time 5 minutes
A cheeky twist on the classic dish Imam Biyaldi, these stuffed aubergines are to die for. Imam Biyaldi roughly translates to ‘the priest fainted’, and folklore tells us that a priest was so impressed by the dish upon first eating it that he swooned. Our version is definitely delicious enough to make a holy man topple… the mince and onion stuffing browns brilliantly and packs a spicy punch, while the traditional tahini and mint dressing cools the whole thing down. If you’re a fan of aubergine, this is a must try! We prefer to use a new, tasty brand of plant-based mince for this, available chilled in most good supermarkets.
  • 2 aubergines
  • 2 tbsp harissa paste
  • handful of flaked almonds
  • 1 fresh red chilli
  • handful of fresh mint
  • handful of fresh coriander
  • 80g pomegranate seeds
  • salt
  • For the stuffing:
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ onion
  • 200g soya mince
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • For the tahini dressing:
  • 100g tahini
  • 1 tbsp dried mint
  • 100ml water
  • 1 lemon
  • salt

1. Preheat grill to max • Line a baking tray • Frying pan on a medium heat • Kettle boiled • Whisk

2. To grill the aubergine, cut the aubergines in half lengthways and lay them flesh-side up on the baking tray. Score the flesh in a crisscross pattern, being careful not to pierce the skin. Brush the scored flesh with the harissa paste and sprinkle with salt. Place under the hot grill to cook until soft, about 13–15 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, cook the stuffing mixture. Add the olive oil to the hot frying pan. Peel and dice the onion and add it to the pan. Cook for four minutes until soft. While the onions are cooking, hydrate the soya mince according to the packet instructions. Drain, pressing the mince with the back of a spoon to remove excess water. Add the mince and the ground spices to the onions and cook until golden and fragrant. Taste and season to perfection.

4. To make the dressing ,combine the tahini, mint and water in a bowl. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze in the juice. Whisk to a pouring consistency, adding extra tahini if the mixture is too loose, or extra water if it’s too thick. Taste and season with a little salt, to taste.

5. To serve, take the tray out of the oven and transfer the aubergines to a serving dish. Tip the flaked almonds onto the tray and toast very briefly under the grill. Finely slice the chilli and tear the leaves from the fresh herbs. Tip the spiced stuffing mixture over the aubergines and drizzle with the tahini dressing. Scatter over the herbs, chilli, pomegranate seeds and toasted flaked almonds, then serve.

Book credit: Speedy BOSH! by Henry Firth & Ian Theasby is out now (HQ, HarperCollins). Food photography credit: Lizzie Mayson

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