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 Peloponese 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.
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!