Imam Baildi: A Traditional Eggplant Recipe from Asia Minor

Imam baildi is a mouthwatering traditional eggplant recipe that comes from Asia Minor, a place that was Greek for thousands of years.  Eggplant is a vegetable that Greeks use in endless recipe variations.

This imam baildi recipe requires the following ingredients: eggplants, garlic cloves, Greek olive oil, onion, tomatoes, parsley, cinnamon, salt, and pepper. According to a myth, this dish got its name from an imam, a religious leader, who fainted when he tried this dish for the first time. The dish is tasty and aromatic, and deeply reminiscent of Anatolia. 

This imam baildi recipe takes 40 minutes to prepare and 2 hours to cook.

imam baildi

Imam Baildi – Ingredients

  • 4 long, slender eggplants
  • 1 cup snipped flatleaf parsley.
  • 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper
  • 4–6 garlic cloves, peeled and minced, or to taste
  • 1/2 cup Greek olive oil
  • 1 large onion, sliced in slender strips.
  • 4–6 ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1–2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Imam Baildi – How to Make

  1. Start this authentic imam baildi recipe by washing the eggplants and cutting off their ends. 
  2. Slice off the skin lengthwise in alternating strips about 1/2 inch in width. 
  3. Then, on each skinless strip, run a sharp knife to open 2 to 4 long, pocket-like slits.
  4. Take a bowl and combine the parsley, salt and pepper, and garlic. 
  5. Stuff the slits with this mixture. 
  6. Heat the oil in a skillet and brown the eggplants lightly on all sides. 
  7. Remove them to a large, deep pan fit for the stovetop.
  8. Sauté the onions in the skillet, then add the tomatoes, sugar, and cinnamon and cook for about 5 minutes.
  9. Pour the tomato mixture over the eggplants. 
  10. Set the pan over low heat, cover it, and simmer for half an hour.
  11. Add water only as needed. Check for tenderness and cook a bit longer if the eggplant is not soft. 
  12. Put together the eggplant on a platter with the sauce.
  13. Serve 
You can serve imam baildi with Greek feta cheese. Enjoy!