Imam Bayildi

An eggplant recipe originating from Constantinople

There is nothing light about this recipe. It is oily…..really oily. So oily you want to pass out as soon as you try it. If you are on a diet, I advise you simply not to continue reading the following lines because just by reading them you will gain weight.

Literally the name of the recipe means “the Imam fainted”. No one can tell us for sure what caused him to faint or why this wonderful food was named so, as its naming verges on legend. Two things are certain. One is that this recipe is a legacy of the 400 years of Ottoman occupation in Greece. The second is that either from its deliciousness or from the intensity of the food……a certain Turkish Imam fainted while eating it.

For this recipe you will need good round eggplants, but not huge ones. In some versions it is considered that tsakonikas, the long thin variety are the best for this dish. Yet the round ones like globe or italian eggplants, do their job just fine.

Imam Bayildi
Preperation 30 minutes
Cooking 50 minutes
Resting time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 50 minutes
Course Appetizer
Nationality Greek
Yields 4 people



  • 1 kilo eggplants medium sized globe or Italian variety
  • 10 gr salt
  • 200 gr olive oil

For the filling

  • 400 gr onion cut in slices
  • 50 gr olive oil
  • 10 gr garlic finely chopped
  • 400 gr tomatoes skins and seeds removed, concasse
  • 10 gr tomato paste
  • 10 gr salt
  • 1 gr black pepper ground
  • 4 gr sugar
  • 2 gr oregano fresh – only the leaves
  • 4 gr parsley finely chopped

Montage and baking

  • 200 gr feta cheese cut in 0.5 cm cubes
  • 100 gr tomatoes in slices
  • 100 gr tomatoes grated
  • 2 gr salt
  • 50 gr vegetable stock



  • Wash and dry the eggplants very well.
    1 kilo eggplants
  • Cut off a bit of the stem to make them more presentable and then cut the eggplants lengthwise in the middle. Cross-cut the flesh of each eggplant with a sharp knife into diamonds or squares. Next, create a "base" by trimming the skin at the bottom of the eggplant.
  • Season the flesh of each eggplant with salt and place them, cut side down, on a baking sheet lined with absorbent paper. Leave for at least an hour. By salting, we manage to sweeten the eggplants as well as absorb less oil during frying.
    10 gr salt, 1 kilo eggplants
  • Squeeze the eggplants lightly to release their moisture.
  • Place a large frying pan over high heat and add the oil.
    200 gr olive oil
  • Fry the eggplants until they are soft, starting from the cut side. Turn when they get coloured after 2 -3 minutes. Transfer to a colander or kitchen paper to drain excess oil.


  • Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat and add the olive oil.
    50 gr olive oil
  • Transfer the onions to the pan and lightly salt them so that they release moisture. Stir and as soon as they wilt, reduce to a medium-low heat. Cook, stirring, until they soften and take on a little colour. (approximately 15 – 20 minutes).
    400 gr onion
  • Add the garlic to the pan and then the tomato paste and sauté (sweeten).
    10 gr garlic, 10 gr tomato paste
  • As soon as the tomato paste sweetens after 2-3 minutes, add the tomatoes, oregano, the rest of the salt, pepper and sugar. Cook until almost all the liquid is gone (5 – 10 minutes).
    400 gr tomatoes, 1 gr black pepper, 4 gr sugar, 2 gr oregano, 10 gr salt
  • Add the parsley and remove from the heat. Let it cool down a bit to be able to handle it and fill the eggplants.
    4 gr parsley

Montage – Baking – Serving

  • Mix the grated tomato with the vegetable stock and salt. Put the mixture in a pan that can fit the eggplants exactly but not squished.
    100 gr tomatoes, 50 gr vegetable stock, 2 gr salt
  • Place the eggplants cut side up on the baking sheet. Open the flesh with the help of a spoon so that the filling fits inside each eggplant
  • With a spoon, fill the eggplants with the filling and on top of it add the tomato slices and the feta cubes.
    200 gr feta cheese, 100 gr tomatoes
  • Bake in a preheated oven at 180°C for 20 to 25 minutes, until the top turns brown and the feta is gratin.
  • Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before serving.


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