Melitzanes giahni or as they are called in Cyprus “vazania giahni”, are eggplants in tomato sauce.  My mother,  as well as all other Cypriot women, would fry the potatoes and eggplants in a lot of oil and they would then sauté the onion in the oil and add fresh ripe tomatoes and tomato paste, as well as all the other ingredients, in the frying pan to make the sauce, which they would then pour this sauce on top of the potatoes and eggplants to cook them. That was so delicious but too oily and fattening so I have modified this recipe from the original Cypriot recipe, in order to make it healthier and lighter.


The eggplants used are called Tsakonikes in Greek and they are named after the area in Peloponnese where they are produced.   I love these eggplants as they are not bitter and therefore they do not have to be soaked in water with salt to remove the bitterness.    As I did not know what this type is called in English,  I google searched it and they look like the Japanese Eggplants, but as I’ve never tried the Japanese I cannot be sure if they are the same ones.

Eggplants are seasonal and cost about 1 Euro a kilo, potatoes cost around 0.65 to 0.70 cents a kilo, ripe tomatoes cost around 0,60 cents, and adding up the cost of olive oil, this light and very tasty dish does not cost more than five Euros.

Considering that this light and tasty dish definitely costs less than 10 dollars, even if we add the cost of feta and bread, I am submitting this recipe to Frugal Fridays, created by Jerry and co-hosted by Ben, of What’s Cooking.


eggplants vazania melitzanes

A light and delicious dish to be served with feta, which is a must with dishes containing tomato sauce and lots of bread to mop up the sauce, as my son did :)

The recipe is included in my cookbook Mint, Cinnamon & Blossom Water, Flavours of Cyprus, Kopiaste!

As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words!

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19 Comments on Vazania (melitzanes) giahni (stewed eggplants)

  1. Peter G says:

    This is one of my all time favourite dishes Ivy. I like the “healthy” version you posted too. A friend of mine does something similar except he grills the eggplants and potatoes. You def need lots of bread for this one!

  2. Peter M says:

    Axx Ivy, these dishes are superior in Greece because of the better produce over there. How else to explain these dishes tasting so good even at room temp?

    Good to see you wiping the plate.

  3. glamah16 says:

    That sounds so aromatic and delicious!

  4. Ivy says:

    Peter, I do that (grilling) for moussakas but here you will need some oil anyway to make the sauce, so instead of making sauce with oil, I take advantage of the little amount absorbed by the eggplants, for the sauce to thicken.

  5. Ivy says:

    Peter M, we are really blessed to have such good produce because that is what gives the final result. Those hairy hands are my sons’.

  6. Emiline says:

    Guess what? I love eggplant. It looks really, really good.
    I can’t believe how much you cook! I can’t keep up.

  7. Illatharasi says:

    Great dish… we too prepare this with all our indian spices in it :)

    I love your healthy dish :) will bookmark this to try !

  8. Ivy says:

    Emiline, see these tags: family, hungry, five, three men. That says it all (lol).

  9. Ivy says:

    Vani, I would certainly like to make it with Indian spices. What should I use?

  10. Swati: Sugarcraft India says:

    This is a lovely version of an aubergine dish..aubergines are one of my favorite veggies..You can make so many dishes with them..
    Will try your way very soon :))

  11. Ivy says:

    If you have a recipe or a link you can send me, maybe I must try the Indian version.

  12. Bellini Valli says:

    I would need some good bread to sop up all the juices too:D

  13. giz says:

    There’s a middle eastern restaurant near me that makes an eggplant and tomato sauce appetizer/side – it’s like heaven. I’m so happy to see recipe for something that looks quite similar. Absolutely delicious.

  14. Cakelaw says:

    I lurv eggplant Ivy – this looks like a great way to serve it.

  15. pixen says:

    Hi Ivy,

    The aubergines you used were the long ones? In my country, we have several types of round, long and slender and of course Japanese eggplant called Nasu. Nasu is very small about 6-7 inches in length compared to the slender ones which could reach 12-18 inches long. Japanese are peculiar, cos if their vegetable is like that they always maintain the same size and color. Round ones about the size or slightly bigger then tennis balls and in several colours from light green, cream to pruple zebra species. The less common in my country is the European Aubergine with dark purple skin and looks like giant purple pear!

    In fact, I bought Nasu 2 days ago… thinking of grilling it with Feta cheese :-)

  16. Lisa says:

    Sounds like a lovely dish. I rarely cook with eggplant, but I have come across some very tempting dishes lately, including this one.

  17. […] zypriotische Gericht habe ich gefunden im Blog von Ivy Liacopoulou, einer Zypriotin aus Limassol: Κοπιάστε .. στην Κουζίνα μου. Ihr Blog enthält eine bemerkenswerte Sammlung authentischer, griechischer und zypriotischer […]

  18. […] ritrovare nella cucina. Come in questo piatto molto semplice, ma molto gustoso. Nella ricetta originaria sono state usate le melanzane Tsakoniki dal colore viola chiaro e striate; sono delle melanzane […]

  19. Fr says:

    Thanks for the recipe, I really liked. I love eggplant.

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