Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Imam Baildi (Eggplants with Tomato Sauce)

This dish is originally from Turkey. However, this is also one of the most popular dishes served in Greece. It is also a very familiar dish for my husband. He is native to Greece and was born in northern Greece where the border between Greece and Turkey was just one mile away from his village. Many of the homemade dishes in his village were influenced by Turkish cuisine.

Imam Baildi means “fainting priest” in Turkish. There is an interesting story behind this dish. One day a poor family generously invited a Muslim priest (or imam) for dinner. Then, they served this simple dish for the priest. It was extremely delicious so the priest eventually fainted. Another interpretation is that the priest started pouring lots of olive oil over this dish. Since olive oil was very expensive at that time for poor people like this family, they fainted in agony.

My husband told me a few tips about making this dish. First of all, do not hesitate using lots of olive oil. I mean “lots”. When I first saw him pouring a large amount of olive oil, I almost fainted. Second, use a pinch of cloves, which makes this dish irresistible. Cloves are one of the most essential incent substances in Japan. But personally I have never used or tasted this seasoning in cooking. A touch of this amazing seasoning makes this simple vegetable dish delicious. The priest might have indeed fainted of the extremely rich flavors.

4 eggplants (Holland eggplants)
3 rip tomatoes, diced
1 large onion, finely chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
½ cup of white wine
¼ cup flat-leaf parsley
1 teaspoon oregano
1 – 1 ½ cups extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
A pinch of cloves

1. Preheat the oven to 325 F degrees.
2. Slice the eggplants in half lengthwise. Add plenty of water and a pinch of salt in a large bowl.
3. Soak the sliced eggplants in the water for about 15 minutes. Drain them well and pad them with paper towel.
4. Heat plenty of olive oil in a large fry pan and fry the eggplants until they become soft. Transfer them to a baking pan.
5. Heat the olive oil in the same fry pan and fry the chopped onion and garlic until they become translucent. Add the tomatoes and tomato paste and stir them well. Add the white wine and stir the mixture well.
6. Season the mixture with salt, freshly ground pepper, oregano and cloves. Turn off the heat and add the parsley and ½ cup of extra virgin olive oil and cover the pan.
7. Pour the tomato mixture over the eggplants. Add ¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil. Bake it in the oven for 50 to 60 minutes.
8. Serve with feta cheese.


  1. We all eat vitamins and store garlic are used in his great taste and flavor is also good natural antibiotics even swine flu.

  2. Thanks for posting this article! And thanks for sharing the directions. So surely I'll make it a try.

  3. Hi sarımsak hapı yorumları,
    Yes, this dish contains a lot of vitamins and other nutrients, which help to protect against flu! Not only that but also this is very delicious. Hope we enjoy eating healthy and tasty homemade dishes and won’t get any flu this year!

    Hi Bryan,
    Please note that the key is to use lots of olive oil! Hope you like it!