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Imam Baildi Recipe: A Traditional Greek Eggplant Recipe

For serious eggplant lovers only! Imam baildi recipe (also known as imam bayildi) is one of the most popular traditional Greek dishes. In reality, imam bayildi has a Turkish origin. It was brought to Greece by the Greeks of Asia Minor when they were persecuted from their homeland. Greeks used to live in Asia Minor at least three thousand years before their brutal and inhuman exodus.

Based on eggplants stuffed with onions, tomatoes, parsley, garlic, and bathed in Greek olive oil, imam baildi food got its name after an imam, an Islamic leader, who tried it for the first time and fainted. The word “baildi” in Turkish means to faint.

As the Ottoman empire was huge and consisted of cultures much more superior to the Turkish one, this imam bayildi recipe has numerous variations. But none of them can compare to this Greek version. Not even the Turkish one. The reason for this is the Greek olive oil which is the best olive oil in the world and adds an unparalleled taste.

Imam baildi is one of the most popular summer ladera dishes. Ladera is the name of vegetable Greek food dishes cooked with olive oil. To make imam baildi you need eggplants, dry onions, parsley, olive oil, tomatoes, garlic cloves, breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, and dried oregano. Others prefer to top the eggplants with Greek feta which adds an extra Greek taste to the dish.

This imam baildi recipe is for six persons and takes 45 minutes to prepare and around 45 minutes to cook. For a lighter taste, instead of frying the eggplants, you can bake them in the oven instead.

imam baildi

Greek Food Imam Baildi Recipe – Ingredients

  • 1 kg of eggplants
  • 3 cups of dry onions, cut into thin slices
  • 1/3 cup of parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 cup of Greek olive oil
  • 500 g of tomatoes
  • 5-6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons of breadcrumbs
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Dried oregano

Greek Food Imam Baildi Recipe – Instructions

  1. Start this imam baildi recipe by cutting the stalks off from the eggplants.
  2. Wash well eggplants under fresh water and slice them in half.
  3. Place eggplants into a bowl of salted water for around 20 minutes.
  4. Preheat your oven to 210 °C (410 °F).
  5. Take eggplants out of the salted water. Wash them well again and let them drain.
  6. Add some olive oil in a frying pan. Bring to heat over medium temperature.
  7. Add onions. Saute them for a while. Add garlic, chopped tomatoes, parsley, salt, pepper and a cup of water.
  8. Occasionally, stir and cook for around 20 minutes. Remove and place in a bowl or plate.
  9. Place eggplants side by side into the frying pan. Add some salt, pepper, and oregano. Lightly saute them.
  10. Once fried, place eggplants in the baking oven. Try not to break them.
  11. Stuff eggplants with the mix, using a small spoon.
  12. Add a slice of tomato on each eggplant.
  13. Top them with breadcrumbs.
  14. Place the pan in a preheated oven. Bake for around 30-40 minutes.
  15. Add some hot water during baking if dried out.
  16. Taste to see if additional salt. Add to taste.
  17. Allow imam bayildi to cool down to room temperature for a few minutes before serving.

Easy to make, mouthwatering and ideal for any vegetarian, you can cook imam bayildi any time of the year! Enjoy!

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