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İmam Bayıldı or Turkish Stuffed Eggplant with Onion and Tomato

İmam Bayıldı Turkish Stuffed Eggplant Onion Tomato

İmam Bayıldı or Stuffed Eggplant with Onion and Tomato

This dish is a Turkish classic and originally vegan! The name means; imam (Muslim cleric) was exhilarated. He was said to be so impressed with the dish when he first tried it. I have an old recipe in my archive without measurements which I’ve had for ages. I just work out with the number of eggplants I have at the time, how big they are and so on.

In the original recipe, the eggplants are fried before you stuff them. I must admit, it is such a messy process –and unhealthy- and your kitchen smells terrible for 2 days too! So, I made a few changes. I grilled the eggplants and once they are stuffed, instead of cooking them on the stove I baked them. If you have gas in your kitchen with fantastic heat control, that’s what you should use. With the electric type, simmering is a challenge. Alternatively, you could use a slow cooker, although getting the eggplants out is a challenge.

İmam Bayıldı Turkish Stuffed Eggplant Onion Tomato

Here’s some tips before you start:
OK, the first tip is the eggplant is never halved and topped like you see in cookbooks. When you think about it, you can’t even call that “stuffed” because you haven’t created an area to be stuffed, have you?

The second tip: We have this way of semi peeling the eggplants; we peel them in stripes. This way, you even out the toughness of their skin and they still keep their shape because you don’t peel them completely.

The third tip: Size does matter. It is one of the challenges in Australia that eggplants are either too small or too big for stuffing. I found these Angela aubergines at the supermarket the other day. They have the perfect size for Imam Bayildi. They taste slightly different to the normal purple type but ever so tasty.

İmam Bayıldı or Stuffed Eggplant with Onion and Tomato

2 medium-sized Angela aubergines (eggplants), washed and dried
1 large tomato, diced
1 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 handful flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Light olive oil
Salt and pepper

• Preheat your grill. Line your oven tray with aluminium foil –saves you cleaning up afterwards.
• By using a potato peeler –that’s the easiest- peel the eggplants I stripes. Make an incision in the middle of each eggplant with a small knife. You cut them along in the middle without going all the way through.
• Brush each eggplant with oil –I also put salt in the oil. Place them under the grill and roast for 30 minutes, turning and basting during the process.
• Once they are all nicely browned, transfer them into a baking dish. I used individual baking dishes for this.
• Heat the oil in a saucepan, and add the onions with a little bit of salt. Sauté the onions until they are soft. Add the garlic and tomatoes and simmer for 5 minutes. Just before you remove it from the heat, stir fresh parsley in.
• Preheat the oven to 150°C/300F/Gas Mark 2.
• By using a spoon, enlarge those incisions you made earlier. Stuff that area with the onion mixture. Return the eggplants to the oven and add a little bit of boiled water to the bottom of the dish to stop them from sticking. Cook Imam Bayildi for another 30 minutes. Then serve. Afiyet Olsun!

Note: As a summer dish, Imam Bayildi should be served either cold or lukewarm.

İmam Bayıldı Turkish Stuffed Eggplant Onion Tomato

11 thoughts on “İmam Bayıldı or Turkish Stuffed Eggplant with Onion and Tomato

  1. YES! This dish is one of my favourites, and your tips sound great. I'd never thought about *not* halving the aubergine, but it makes perfect sense. I'm actually heading to a wonderful Turkish restaurant for lunch today. I think you're subconsciously making my dining decisions for me ;)
      1. This must be the place where you have been for lunch. I have just found it in my spam folder -for some reason. Thanks to Google translate, I know what it is about :)
    1. Thank you. I thought such experience coming from a person who is originally from that part of the world and living in a Western country now would be useful. How was your lunch, by the way? Did you enjoy your the dish I picked for you? :)
  2. Brilliant imam bayildi, eline saglik :) the size of the eggplants is indeed a challenge abroad, they are too big compared to the ones i used to get in Turkey. Therefore I find cutting in half and stuffing working better for the really big eggplants - it is wonderful if you can get the small sized ones though :) Selamlar, Ozlem
    1. Thank you Ozlemcim :) It was a lovely surprise to find those eggplants at the supermarket. I hope I can get them every year which is another challenge over here. You find something you like, next thing; you can't get it anymore. Cok selamlar, kocaman sevgiler...

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