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Traditional Imam Bayildi Recipe

February 24
3 min read
Explore the diverse landscapes and cultural heritage of Turkey in this captivating image showcasing iconic landmarks and natural beauty; Traditional Imam Bayildi Recipe
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    One of my most favorite Turkish dishes of all time, also known as Moussaka, this traditional Turkish dish literally translates to “the Imam fainted.” Suitable for vegetarians or as a meat version called Karniyarik, this article focuses on the vegetarian dish where an eggplant is cut down the middle before being stuffed with various spices and vegetables. During my travels in Türkiye, I learned this traditional recipe in a cooking class at a family restaurant. Follow the instructions below for this delicious traditional Turkish Imam Bayildi Recipe.

    Servings: 2-6 portions

    Prep Time: 15 minutes

    Total Time: 1.5-2 hours

    Base Ingredients

    • 2 Large aubergines or 4-6 small aubergines
    • 9 Tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 Tbsp of tomato paste
    • 0.5 cup of boiling water
    • 1/2 tsp sugar
    • Flat-leaf parsley, to garnish
    • Salt
    • Pepper

    Stuffing Ingredients

    • 2 Tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
    • 2 medium yellow onions, cut into slivers
    • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
    • 2 large tomatoes, peeled and chopped
    • 10 g flat-leaf parsley, chopped
    • 1 tsp of chili powder or a pinch of red chili flakes
    • Salt
    • Pepper

    Cooking Instructions

    1. Start with the aubergine base. Peel half the skin off the aubergines and salt generously. Set the aubergines aside for half an hour.
    2. To make the stuffing, add the 2 Tbsp olive oil and olive oil into the frying pan.
    3. Add the chopped onion and cook until softened, but not browned for 8-10 minutes while stirring often.
    4. Add the minced garlic and fry for a minute, stirring constantly.
    5. Add the peeled and chopped tomatoes and the chili powder or the red pepper flakes. Keep cooking until the tomatoes soften and the liquid starts to thicken. Be sure to stir every once in a while so nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan.
    6. Add the flat-leaf parsley, salt, and pepper, and let cook for 2 minutes. Then turn off the heat.
    7. Brush the salt off the aubergines.
    8. In another frying pan, add 2 Tbsp of extra virgin olive oil and heat on medium.
    9. Add the aubergines and cook until they start to soften, turning them regularly. Or, roast in a preheated oven at 390 degrees F until the aubergines start to soften, around 20 minutes.
    10. Cut the aubergines lengthwise, leaving an inch at either end. The incision should not cut through the bottom layer of the aubergines.
    11. Add the stuffing to the aubergines and place them, stuffed side up, in a pan. Then cover with a lid.
    12. Add the rest of the extra virgin olive oil to the frying pan.
    13. Mix the tomato paste, sugar, and boiling water with a little salt and pepper. Then add enough of the mixture to the pan until it reaches half the level of the aubergines.
    14. Bring to a boil, put on a lid, and turn the heat down to low.
    15. Leave to simmer until the aubergines are completely soft, around 45 minutes. Add more water if the aubergines are looking dry.
    16. Set aside to cool completely.
    17. Sprinkle with the chopped flat-leaf parsley before serving.
    18. Enjoy!

    Mastering the art of preparing the traditional Turkish Imam Bayildi recipe offers a delightful journey into the heart of Turkish cuisine. This vegetarian dish, with its rich blend of flavors and aromatic spices, showcases the culinary heritage of Türkiye. Whether enjoyed as a main course or shared among friends and family, the Imam Bayildi recipe encapsulates the essence of authentic Turkish gastronomy, inviting you to savor the cultural tapestry woven into every delicious bite. Embrace this culinary adventure and bring the flavors of Türkiye to your table with the time-honored tradition of preparing Imam Bayildi.

    Considering a visit to Türkiye? Check out my complete travel guide!

    Interested in traveling to Türkiye? Check out my articles below:

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