clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
Ready to serve tomato filled eggplant dish

Imam Bayildi

  • Author: Noreen
  • Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 people 1x


Imam Bayildi


  • 2 medium-sized eggplants
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup water


  • 2 medium white onions, diced
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tomatoes, peeled, de-seeded and chopped (place seeds to the side)
  • 4 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 handful fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 handful fresh dill, chopped
  • 1 handful fresh mint, chopped
  • 1 red chili pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Juice of 1 medium lemon (~1/3 cup)


Stage 1 – Create Your Eggplant Canoe

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  2. Add the onions, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt into a bowl together. Massage the onions with your hands to work in the lemon juice and salt, and let sit as you tend to other areas of the recipe
  3. Take one of your eggplants and cut it very carefully along the top by the leaves. There is a small reed in the eggplant in the heart of the leafy part, which is most traditionally kept on in this dish. Cut around the reed and pull off the top of the eggplant and leafy part
  4. Peel the eggplant into zebra stripes, alternating one part peeled and one part with skin left on
  5. Cut the eggplant lengthwise in half and begin to spoon out the inner part of the eggplant. Create a cavity that will become the “canoe” for your Imam Bayildi’s filling, be sure to leave the “walls” of the eggplant relatively thick
  6. Repeat for the other eggplant you have

Stage 2 – Brown Your Eggplants

  1. Heat a skillet on high heat and add a heaping dollop of olive oil. Once the olive oil is nice and hot, fry the eggplant canoe on all sides until it slightly browns. This should take roughly ~5-7 minutes
  2. Once the eggplant canoes are slightly browned, take it out of the skillet and let sit on a plate with a paper towel in between (to soak up the oil)

Stage 3 – Lightly Cook Your Imam Bayildi Filling

  1. In the bowl with the onions and lemon juice, add the garlic, olive oil (another 2 healthy dollops), tomatoes, and all herbs and spices. Stir very well together
  2. Using the same skillet that the eggplant canoes were fried in, lightly cook the filling over medium heat for 1-2 minutes, add the tomato paste and continue to cook for 5-8 minutes. Taste test to make sure flavors merge together

Stage 4 – Braise and Roast Your Imam Bayildi

  1. Add the water and remaining olive oil to your baking dish as well as any “remnants” like parsley stalks or tomato seeds. These are fantastic flavorers to the braising liquid
  2. Place your eggplant canoes in the baking dish
  3. Overfill the canoes with filling, then cover the baking dish lightly with aluminum foil
  4. Bake for 30 minutes before uncovering. Once uncovered, let the imam bayildi bake for another 30 minutes (60 minutes total)
  5. Remove from the oven and let cool. The imam bayildi should be served at room temperature
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 60 mins
  • Category: Entree
  • Cuisine: Turkish

Keywords: eggplant meal, crispy eggplant, eggplant in cinnamon