This eggplant dish is one of the most famous Turkish dishes and you can find many variations on them. İmam bayildi means “the imam fainted”. This is very popular in Greece under the same name: Ιμάμ Μπαϊλντί.
A legends tell that an imam (Muslim priest) swooned because he had too much of this delightful dish.
Some recipes added green peppers and most are prepared in the skillet. In my variation we used the skillet only to prepare the filling as we baked the dish. We also added some feta and potatoes to the mold. In this way we have a delicious full meal.
- 4 medium eggplants (ca. 600-800 g)
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 500 g onions, sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 500 g tomatoes, chopped (or 1 can of 450 g)
- 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
- Salt, taste
- pepper to taste
- 200 g feta (cut into 4 portions)
- 600 to 800 g potatoes, peeled in cubes (optional)
- Wash the eggplants and make a big long cut for the filling.
- Place the eggplant in a baking mold and broil turning them from time to time until soft. Set aside. Some people remove strips of the skin and place them in salted water to remove the liquid that may be bitter and then they fill it directly.
- In the meanwhile (but keep an eye to the eggplants!) fry the onions in the remaining oil, when they are soft add the garlic and fry 3 more minutes.
- Add the half of the tomatoes, parsley, and pepper. Adjust salt and pepper to your taste.
- Adjust the eggplant in a mold (cut side up) and fill them with the onions mix, but reserve at least 3 tablespoons of filling in the skillet.
- Arrange the potatoes (if used) around the eggplants.
- Add the remaining tomatoes to the onion in the pan. Add some salt (about 1/2 teaspoon) and cover your eggplants and potatoes with this tomatoes sauce.
- Place the feta over the filling and press the pieces partially inside of the sauce.
- Bake for about one hour at 170-180°C or until the potatoes are ready. From time to time check if it is not drying too much, if necessary add 1/2 cup of water.