The Khohanotz: Imam Bayildi
Imam Bayildi, a Turkish dish that translates simply to the “Imam Fainted” is vegetable ambrosia. The aroma it produces while being made is enough to make your mouth water. It’s also an easy,quick and healthy alternative to an microwave dinner. If you love olive oil or eggplants, this flavorful dish is for you.
The name is known to derive from an old Turkish tale of an imam who fainted because of how extraordinary the dish was when presented to him. Imam Bayildi, although usually considered an appetizer, can definitely be consumed as a main course. It seems like a great alternative on those days when you want to try something new, but not extravagant. In fact, the beauty of this dish lies in its simplicity – even if you decided to make it on a whim, you would more than likely have all the ingredients lying around to conjure it up.
- 2 eggplants (mini eggplants can be used for a more bite sized dish)
- 5 tbsp olive oil
- 2 sliced red onions
- 1 sliced green bell pepper
- 2 freshly chopped tomatoes
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 fresh or frozen chopped garlic cloves
- 2 tbsp fresh cilantro
- 3-4 tbsp sugar
1. Start by preheating the oven to 375 F. Cut the eggplants in half and cut 4 to 5 slits in the flesh before generously sprinkling with salt. Place aside for 30 minutes and then rinse and pat dry.
2. Pour the olive oil into a large skillet and add the eggplants. Cook for 5 minutes and place in a casserole dish.
3. Add red onions, pepper and garlic to the skillet and cook for around 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Next, add the sugar, tomatoes, salt and pepper and the cilantro.
4. After spooning the mixture onto the eggplant pieces, bake in the oven for 30 minutes.
5. After letting it cool, you can refrigerate the dish until it is chilled, but it is also delicious served warm, with some matzo bread.