İmam Bayıldı Recipe

Origins and Story:

İmam Bayıldı, which translates to "The Imam Fainted" in English, is a classic Turkish dish with a fascinating story behind its name. The tale goes back to the Ottoman era, where the dish earned its name due to its deliciousness, so much so that the imam (a Muslim religious leader) supposedly fainted upon tasting it.

According to the legend, an imam's wife prepared this sumptuous stuffed eggplant dish for him. Upon taking the first bite, the imam was so overwhelmed by the incredible flavors and richness of the dish that he couldn't contain his delight and fainted from sheer pleasure. Hence, the dish was forever named İmam Bayıldı in honor of this amusing anecdote.

İmam Bayıldı is a vegetarian dish that showcases the exquisite combination of fresh ingredients, fragrant spices, and the magic of slow cooking. It is a celebration of the Mediterranean flavors that Turkey is known for, making it a beloved part of Turkish cuisine.

İmam Bayıldı Recipe


  • 4 large eggplants
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 large tomatoes, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (adjust to taste)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Lemon wedges and additional parsley for garnish


Preparation of the Eggplants:

  • Wash the eggplants and pat them dry. Trim off the stems and make a lengthwise slit down the middle, leaving the ends intact.
  • Sprinkle salt inside the slits and let them sit for about 20 minutes. This helps reduce the bitterness of the eggplants.
  • Rinse the eggplants under running water and gently squeeze them to remove excess moisture. Pat them dry with paper towels.
Frying the Eggplants:
  • In a large skillet, heat half of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Fry the eggplants until they are lightly browned on all sides. Remove them from the pan and set aside.

Preparing the Filling:

  • In the same skillet, add the remaining olive oil and sauté the onions and garlic until they become translucent and aromatic.
  • Stir in the diced tomatoes, green bell pepper, parsley, cumin, coriander, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Cook the mixture until the vegetables soften and the flavors meld together.

Stuffing the Eggplants:

  • Carefully open the slits of the eggplants and stuff them with the vegetable mixture, pressing gently to fill the cavity.
  • Place the stuffed eggplants in a baking dish, and pour water into the bottom of the dish to create steam during cooking.


  • Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake the stuffed eggplants in a preheated oven at 375°F (190°C) for about 40 minutes, or until the eggplants are tender and fully cooked.


  • Once done, remove the İmam Bayıldı from the oven and let it cool slightly.
  • Serve the dish warm or at room temperature, garnishing with fresh parsley and lemon wedges for added zest.

    Enjoy the delightful flavors of İmam Bayıldı, and remember the legend behind this delectable Turkish dish that is as captivating as its taste!