You are here: HomeRecipesAppetizers and TapasImam Bayildi (The Priest Fainted)
This is an indescribably delicious dish made with eggplant.   Both the Greeks and the Turks claim this dish Imam Bayildias theirs.  Who cares?  It's delicious.  It is one of the most famous Middle Eastern Dishes and can be served as a side dish, an appetizer or tapas.

The origin of the name of this dish is varied.  One is that the name of the dish “Imam Bayildi” is Turkish for “The Fainting Cleric” and as the legend has it, a certain "Imam" (the term for a religious leader) had just completed a long fast and when this dish was set before him, he was so overcome with the mouth-watering aroma that he fainted.   So, whatever the dish may have been called before, it was thereafter renamed in his honor.    

Both the Greeks and the Turks have been swapping recipes with each other for hundreds of years.  You'll find Turkish influence in Greek food and Greek influence in Turkish cooking.   No matter which culture originated this dish, make it.  It is unbelievably yummy.

2  medium sized eggplants, halved lengthwise and seeded
4  Tbsp olive oil
2  large onions sliced very thinly
2  garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1  large green pepper, seeded and sliced thin
14 ounce can of chopped tomatoes
1/4 cup sugar
1  tsp ground coriander
fresh ground black pepper
2  Tbsp fresh coriander (cilantro) or parsley, chopped

Using a sharp knife, deeply slash the flesh of the seeded halves of the eggplant in a crosshatch but don't pierce the skin.
Sprinkle the eggplant with salt and put it in a colander to drain for about 30-40 minutes.  Then rinse well and pat dry.

In a heavy skillet, heat olive oil and sear the eggplant, cut side down, for about 5 minutes.
Place the eggplant cut side up in an ovenproof dish with a little olive oil in the bottom.

In the same skillet fry the onion, garlic and green pepper adding extra oil if necessary.  Cook about 10 minutes till the vegetables are softened.  Add tomatoes, sugar, ground coriander and a few grinds of fresh black pepper.   Cook about 5 minutes.   Stir in the chopped fresh cilantro or parsley.

Spoon the onion mixture over the eggplant halves evenly and bake 30 - 40 minutes at 375º.
Let cool.   Serve at room temperature or refrigerate and serve chilled.  

Serve really good bread with this