Imam Bayildi

This dish has its roots from Turkey as you already have imagined from its name. Still, after all these years we lived together, we share the same food. This recipe depicts all the similarities we deny to admit and all the differences we are all proud of. Read one of the stories for how this food got its name.

“There are many stories about the origin of the name of this dish. One of them we heard while visiting Ankara, Turkey’s capital. A long time ago a Turkish Imam (Mohammedan priest), known for his love of good food, surprised his friends by announcing his engagement to the young daughter of a wealthy olive-oil merchant. The friends did not know about her ability to cook. But they presumed part of her dowry would include olive oil. They were right. For her father gave the groom twelve jars, each one large enough to hold a person, of the precious oil. After her marriage the bride proved to be an excellent cook and each day prepared a special dish for her epicurean husband. One of them, eggplant cooked in olive oil, became his favorite. And he ordered that his wife prepare it each night for dinner. This she did for twelve consecutive days. On the thirteenth, however, the dish was missing from the meal. Queried about its absence, the bride replied, “Dear husband, I do not have any more olive oil. You will have to purchase some more for me.” The lmam was so shocked that he fainted. And since that day, according to the story, his favorite dish has been known as Imam Bayildi, The Imam Fainted.”

 

Ingredients 

6 Eggplants
2 dry onions or 5 fresh ones
The inside of the eggplants cut in pieces
4-5 cloves of garlic
3 green peppers
1 red pepper
Olive oil
1 glass Tomato juice or 3 tomatoes cut
Salt, pepper, Parsley, Some bread crumbles

Procedure

Cut the eggplants, after you have cut their edges and wash them, in half. Make a small opening to the middle of the half eggplant with a knife, like you are trying to make them small boats. Carefully take all the inside with a spoon. They might be a bit rough, but you must insist, always carefully, so that you will not cut accidently the eggplant.

_MG_4771Cut the inside in blokes and save it. Put the “boat” eggplants in the oven for 30 minutes with some salt and olive oil, so that they will be softer. 

_MG_4780In a pan put olive oil, the onion, the peppers, the garlic and the inside of the eggplant. Fry them all together, until they become softer.

Pour the tomato juice and let it boil until everything is soft. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. *EXTRA TIP put some nutmeg, like they used to do it in Istanbul the old days. Extra flavor, immediately it makes it unique. If you want, put some sugar too.

IMG_4788Take out the eggplants from the oven and fill them with the fried ingredients. 

Sprinkle with dry bread crumbles; they will absorb the extra juice of it. A bit of olive oil on top and put it in the oven for 1 hour in 200 degrees.

IMG_4801Serve with some yogurt or feta cheese! 

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