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Imam Bayildi (A Stuffed Eggplant Recipe from Asia Minor)

Imam Bayildi (A Stuffed Eggplant Recipe from Asia Minor) created by Rita1652

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.

Ready In:
1hr 10mins
Serves:
Units:

ingredients

directions

  • 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.
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RECIPE MADE WITH LOVE BY

@evelynathens
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@evelynathens
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"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."
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  1. greenno7
    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.
    Reply
  2. MaryAnn J.
    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.
    Reply
  3. MaryAnn J.
    Probably sauteed the eggplant a few more minutes than originally directed.
    Reply
  4. NolaFoodie
    I made this for the first time last night, and it was delicious! We've never had this dish before, so I had no basis for comparison, but we loved it. I made it exactly as written, except for substituting canned organic diced tomatoes for fresh. Local fresh tomatoes are not in season, so it's usually better to use high quality canned instead, in most recipes. I served it with warm whole wheat pita on the side, and we devoured every last bit! Will definitely be making this again!
    Reply
  5. RobLately
    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
    Reply
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