Aubergine Imam Bayildi is popular in Turkish as well as Bulgarian, Armenian, Greek and other cuisines of the Balkan region. The name translates literally as “Imam fainted”. But the cause of his fall varies from legend to legend. According to one version, he fell from the aroma of the dish; according to another it was because he knew the price. The third version says that the Imam married a girl and got as a dowry 12 jars of the best olive oil.For 12 days the girl treated her husband with aubergines and tomatoes, and on the thirteenth not seeing a dish on the table, the Imam fainted, realising that the dowry is gone.
6 aubergines (approx. 900 g)
2 medium red onions
4 garlic cloves
5-6 sprigs of parsley
1 sweet green pepper
4 medium tomatoes
1 tsp. sugar (optional)
1 tsp. ground zira
1 tbsp. tomato paste
4 tbsp. olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
Step by step recipe
Preheat the oven to 220°C. Line a baking tray with foil or parchment and brush with olive oil.
Prepare the aubergines for baking and stuffing.
Using a vegetable peeler, cut off part of the skin of the aubergines to make wide strips. Slit the aubergines lengthwise, but do not cut through them completely. Salt the aubergines inside and outside, then put them in a colander and leave for 30 minutes.
Bake the aubergines in the oven.
Place the aubergines on a baking tray and roast for 20 minutes.
Prepare stuffing ingredients for Imam Bayaldi stuffed aubergines
Peel the onion and garlic and chop finely. Chop the parsley. Remove the seeds and membranes from the bell peppers and cut into cubes. Cut the tomatoes crosswise and put them in a bowl, pour boiling water over them for 2 minutes and then rinse with cold water. Peel, peel and finely chop.
Fry the aubergine stuffing in a pan
Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a frying pan and fry the onion until soft. Add the bell pepper and garlic and sauté for another 7-10 minutes with salt and pepper. Add tomatoes and tomato paste, cumin and parsley. Add sugar, if needed. Braise for 5 minutes and remove from heat.
Bake Imam Bayaldi stuffed aubergines in the oven.
Reduce the oven temperature to 180°C. Put the aubergines in a baking dish and fill with the tomato mixture. Drizzle with olive oil, add 2 tbsp water to the mould and bake for 40-45 mins.
By the end of cooking, the aubergines should be almost flat and the liquid in the mould should have almost evaporated. Serve the aubergines warm or completely cooled.