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Vazania (melitzanes) giahni (stewed eggplants)


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 on the stove top. 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

Vazania (melitzanes) giahni (stewed eggplants)

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time:  45 minutes

Serves:  3


  • 1 kilo (2.20 lbs) – about 4 medium eggplants (aubergines)
  • 3 medium potatoes
  • 1/3 cup of olive oil
  • 1 big onion, cut into slices
  • 5 ripe tomatoes (or 1 tin 500 grams – 1.10 lbs whole tomatoes, blended with 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 3 – 5 cloves garlic, cut into small slices
  • 1 cup parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup water


  1. Wash the eggplants and set aside to dry.  Do not peel them yet as they will brown unless you put them in water.
  2. Peel and wash the potatoes and cut them into 1 cm slices.
  3. In a food processor puree the tomatoes with the tomato paste.
  4. Heat ½ the olive oil in a sautéing pan and sauté the potatoes on both sides until lightly browned. While the potatoes are being sautéed, remove their stalks and cut them into 2 or 3 slices, make a slit and put a piece of garlic in each.
  5. Remove potatoes and add 2 tbsp oil and sauté the eggplants on both sides. Remove the eggplants, add the remaining oil and sauté the onion until translucent.  Add the tomatoes, water, salt, pepper and parsley and mix.
  6. Put the eggplants and potatoes in a pot and pour the sauce on top.
  7. Bring to boil, lower heat and simmer until potatoes are soft and the sauce is thick.
  8. Serve with feta and crunchy bread.

How to remove bitterness from Eggplants

Greek eggplants are not bitter, but depending on the variety you will be using, you may need to remove the bitterness first.

Cut off the stalk, cut them into slices, sprinkle liberally with salt and leave them for 20 minutes to remove much of the bitterness and draw out some moisture.  This way they will not absorb a lot of oil when fried.  Wash to remove the salt and drain on kitchen paper before 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 🙂

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

This and many more recipes are included in my cookbook Mint, Cinnamon & Blossom Water, Flavours of Cyprus, Kopiaste or on Volume 1 of the digital cookbook.
You can also find more Greek recipes in my cookbook «More Than A Greek Salad».

Both cookbooks are available on all Amazon stores. Read more here.


Other related Recipes:

Melitzanes Santorinis (white eggplants)

Rola Melitzanas me Feta




Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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18 Responses

  1. Peter G

    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

    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

    That sounds so aromatic and delicious!

  4. Ivy

    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

    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

    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

    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

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

  9. Ivy

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

  10. Swati: Sugarcraft India

    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

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

  12. Bellini Valli

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

  13. giz

    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

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

  15. pixen

    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

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

  17. Fr

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

  18. Jessica

    Exellent very tasty recipe