Imam Bayildi (A Stuffed Eggplant Recipe from Asia Minor)

"The story behind this dish is that the Imam (a Turkish official in the Ottoman Empire) fainted when his wife told him she'd used up all the olive oil in making this dish. Eggplant is an oil sponge, it loves to soak it up. Having said that, it is also very, very delicious, and if you allow the eggplant to drain well after frying them, you will still cut calories while retaining great taste. Great dish - vegetarian."
photo by Rita1652 photo by Rita1652
photo by Rita1652
photo by RobLately photo by RobLately
photo by Sackville photo by Sackville
photo by Sackville photo by Sackville
photo by Hyuna BubblePop photo by Hyuna BubblePop
Ready In:
1hr 10mins




  • Saute the onions in a little oil.
  • Add the garlic, tomatoes, parsley, salt, and pepper.
  • Cook until it comes together as a very thick stew (no liquid). Stir in mint.
  • Cut the stem ends from each eggplant and cut eggplants in half lengthwise.
  • Make 3 lengthwise slits, almost from end to end, cutting into the flesh about 1 inch deep.
  • Heat 1/2 cup olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.
  • Add the eggplant, cut side down, and fry gently, until dark golden-brown on cut side.
  • Turn over and fry on skin side a couple more minutes.
  • Remove from oil (most of it will have been absorbed) and place on paper towels to drain for at least 15 minutes before proceeding with recipe (this gets rid of most of the oil- you can omit the frying step to cut calories and save time, but you will NOT have the same flavourful results, and the recipe will not be as authentic).
  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Hold each slit apart and spoon the vegetable mixture into each cavity.
  • Arrange eggplants in a baking dish just large enough to hold them.
  • Sprinkle with sugar, lemon juice, and drizzle with the remaining oil.
  • Bake for 40 minutes, or until tender.
  • Serve with lots of crusty bread.

Questions & Replies

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  1. This is sooooo good. The first time I made this the eggplant wasn't tender enough. This time I let it cook/fry while I prepared the ingredients for the tomato stuffing. The eggplant got a rich dark golden brown color and was practically cooked before even going into the oven. Instead of fresh tomatoes I used a 28 oz can of San Marzano tomatoes (liquid drained and reserved). I actually liked the canned tomatoes much better. Also, don't be afraid of the sugar and lemon juice either. I was hesitant but it really balances itself out and adds a lot of depth and flavor.
    • Review photo by RobLately
  2. This was superbly delicious! I used less oil & added some red bell pepper & chopped mushroom. I have one half in the freezer ready. I rarely have eggplant as husband won't eat it. I shall definitely be cooking it more frequently after finding this recipe. Thanks
  3. Wonderful!! My husband and I bought a couple of eggplants and decided to make finding a great recipe our project this week, since we love eating it at restaurants but didn't know how to cook it ourselves. The recipe worked out great! Just make sure to block out enough time because between the chopping, frying, and baking it might take more than 1.5 hours to prepare. But don't worry because it is definitely a restaurant-quality dish. Enjoy!! On a side note: Instead of bread, we served it with brown rice; the combination of flavors and textures were great!
  4. I learned to make this dish 25 yrs ago in Albania. It is a family favorite. My differences are that I use ground sausage and red, yellow and orange diced peppers, and at the last 5 minutes in the oven I lay slice of mozzarella cheese on top and let it brown.
  5. Delicious. Made it as stated with the extra direction of frying it while prepping and making the tomato stuffing. Yum. Served with naan (yes, I know it should be pitas) and a salad of cucumbers, yogurt and mint.


  1. Probably sauteed the eggplant a few more minutes than originally directed.


<style>body { background: url(""); background-repeat: repeat-y; }</style> OK, here goes. I live in Athens, Greece. I moved out here many, many years ago from Ottawa, Canada - so I am blessed in having two wonderful heritages! I suffer from compulsive obsessive behaviour with regard to food and my psychiatrist thought it would be a good idea to find a 'society' where many have the same problem and try to find a cure. So far, I've copied a couple of thousand recipes from this site and my psychiatrist has thrown the towel in and refuses to answer the phone when I call. What did I do wrong? Got 3 kids that keep me on the go - 10 and under at this point (2008) - I may not get round to updating this for a few years, so you'll have to do your own maths. I teach English full-time and Greek Cookery part-time. I would like to make the cooking part of it full-time and the English Grammar part of it part-time. That's all for now.
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