Classic Turkish Aubergine – Imam Bayildi

By Didi Chapman - Healthy Recipes -

aubergine dish

Aubergines are one of the most popular vegetables in Turkey. Not only are they delicious and hearty, but they also boast fantastic health properties such as being high in dietary fibre, low in fat, rich in magnesium and other essential B vitamins and minerals.

This recipe is my take on a favourite classic Turkish dish called Imam Bayildi which translates to “Imam fainted”. The legend behind this dish is that the Imam (a Turkish official in the Ottoman Empire) fainted, either in shock or pleasure, when his wife told him she used up all the olive oil in making the dish!

With the traditional recipe the aubergines are stuffed and shallow fried and absorb a high quantity of oil, so to make this dish a little healthier and lighter I prefer to cook without frying and it tastes just as great!

This dish is so easy to make as you just put everything into a pan in one go and let it cook slowly. It is best served at room temperature so it can be prepared well in advance. I think it actually tastes better many hours after cooking or even the next day, as it gives the aubergines more time to absorb the wonderful flavours. It is perfect for hot summer days, served as part of a mezze or just with fresh bread and drizzled with yoghurt.


  • 4 small aubergines
  • 2 red peppers – finely sliced
  • 1 large onion – finely sliced
  • 3 large cloves of garlic chopped – not crushed
  • 400g chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • handful of flat leaf parsley


  • Peel the skin of the aubergines lengthways into strips so that the skin is still present in alternate stripes.
  • chop the aubergines across into 1cm chunks

scored aubergine

  • Into a large saute pan place the aubergine pieces so that they are nicely packed into one layer.
  • Over the top, add the the pepper and onion followed by the tomatoes, garlic, salt and sugar.
  • Drizzle the olive oil over the top and cover with a lid.
  • Heat gently for around 35mins or until the aubergines are cooked.
  • Sprinkle the flat leaf parsley on top.
  • Leave to cool and serve at room temperature with yoghurt and fresh bread.

Didi Chapman is a mum of two young boys and she loves to cook simple, fresh and nourishing food with plenty of variety. With a few delicious ingredients her Turkish inspired meals are very quick, easy to make and can be so much fun to cook with children too.

To read more about Didi click here.

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5 Comments on “Classic Turkish Aubergine – Imam Bayildi”

  1. Yes Nisha, you should definitely try it! I am sure you will love it! Let me know if you have any questions xxx

  2. Looks amazing, will definitely try this recipe for the family this week. I think my little one will love it!!
    Thanks Didi

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