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Imam Bayildi
(Baked Eggplant)

This dish, which dates back to the height of the Ottoman Empire in the 17th Century, has a number of stories related to its origin. The words literally mean, “The Imam Swooned.” While one story suggests that this meaning was attributed to the deliciousness of the dish, I can easily believe the other, that it was at the huge amount of expensive olive oil used in its preparation. Whichever is true, it is definitely a dish I am adding to my rotation from now on.

Imam Bayildi by Simon Majumdar

Imam Bayildi Recipe

(Serves 4-6)


  • 4 Large Eggplants

  • 1 Large Onion (Diced)

  • 4 Cloves Garlic (Minced)

  • 1 Bunch Parsley (Finely Chopped)

  • 1 Bunch Mint (Torn)

  • 8 Ripe Tomatoes (De-seeded and Chopped)

  • ½ Cup Olive Oil

  • 1 Lemon (Juiced)

  • 1 Tsp Ground Cumin

  • Salt

  • Black Pepper


  1. Peel the eggplant leaving them connected to the stalks

  2. Make a slit lengthwise down each eggplant about two-thirds of the way to the bottom and butterfly them open so they have a flat surface.

  3. Heat up ¼ cup olive oil in a frying pan.

  4. Sprinkle the eggplant with salt and pepper, and cook in the olive oil for about two minutes a side.

  5. They will take up a lot of the oil.  So, you can drain them in a colander over a bowl if you want less, but, if you want a richer finished dish, you can move to the next stage and remove them from the frying pan, place them in a single layer in a baking dish and, allow them to cool.

  6. In the same frying pan in which you fried the eggplant, add the rest of the olive oil and bring to a medium heat.

  7. Add the onions and cook for 5 minutes.

  8. Add the minced garlic and cook for 2 minutes.

  9. Add the ground cumin, stir in and cook for 2 minutes.

  10. Add the tomatoes, stir in and cook for 5 minutes.

  11. Remove from the heat and stir in most of the parsley and mint (reserving a little for garnish).

  12. Spoon the mixture over each eggplant and sprinkle a little lemon juice over the top.

  13. Bake in a 350 degrees Fahrenheit oven for around 20 minutes.

  14. Garnish with the remaining parsley and mint.

  15. Serve with warm pita bread and yogurt.

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