Calliope's Real Greek Food

cooking & stories in my Brooklyn kitchen

Imam bayildi

#Vegetarian #Vegan #GlutenFree

A summer classic! Originally, a Turkish recipe that was introduced to the Greek cuisine by the Greeks of Asia Minor.  It translates “the imam fainted”! The tale goes like this: the imam swooned from delight when his wife served this dish to him. Others say that

the imam’s wife used all the olive oil to prepare it and when he found out he fainted! Eggplants are like oil sponges, so I believe the latter version of the tale.

Serve it at room temperature with Greek feta cheese or yogurt and bread. It tastes better the day after (with pasta ;-) 

Preparation Method

1.     Shave long, alternate strips of peel off the eggplants, top to bottom; leave the stem on

2.     Make an incision, half way to into the flesh being careful not to cut through the skin

3.     Soak them in a large bowl filled with water and 1tbsp. of salt for 30 minutes

4.     In the meantime, prepare the sauce; heat 1 cup of olive oil and sauté the onions for 10 mins until translucent, but not brown; add the garlic for 3 mins and finally the tomatoes, season and add the sugar; let it simmer for about 20 minutes until you get a somewhat thick sauce

5.     When the sauce is ready, start frying the eggplants in a different sauce pan using the remaining olive oil until they are soft and golden brown

6.     Line the fried eggplants in a deep baking dish and stuff them with some of the sauce & onions

7.     Finish by pouring on top the remaining sauce & some of the olive oil you have used to fry the eggplants; sprinkle with parsley

8.     Bake for about 45 minutes at 380F


-       2 medium onions, sliced

-       2 cloves garlic, crushed

-       4 medium ripe tomatoes, peeled and ground

-       parsley, chopped

-       4 Sicilian (zebra or graffiti) eggplants

-       1 ½ cup extra virgin olive oil

-       1 tsp. sugar

-       salt & freshly ground black pepper

Preparation Time: 30 minutes

Cooking Time: 45 minutes – 1hour

Serves: 4