|Place of origin||Turkey|
|Region or state||Middle East|
|Associated national cuisine||Ottoman|
|Serving temperature||Room temperature or warm|
|Main ingredients||Eggplant, onions, garlic, tomatoes, olive oil|
İmam bayıldı[dead link] (literally: "the imam fainted") is a dish in Ottoman cuisine consisting of whole eggplant stuffed with onion, garlic and tomatoes, and simmered in olive oil. It is a zeytinyağlı (olive oil-based) dish and is found in most of the former Ottoman regions. The dish is served at room temperature or warm.
Origin of the name
The name supposedly derives from a tale of a Turkish imam who swooned with pleasure at the flavour when presented with this dish by his wife, although other more humorous accounts suggest that he fainted upon hearing the cost of the ingredients or the amount of oil used to cook the dish.
Another folk-tale relates that an imam married the daughter of an olive oil merchant. Her dowry consisted of twelve jars of the finest olive oil, with which she prepared each evening an eggplant dish with tomatoes and onions. On the thirteenth day, there was no eggplant dish at the table. When informed that there was no more olive oil, the imam fainted.
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Imam bayildi is also well-known under minor variants of the Turkish name in Bulgaria, Israel, North Macedonia, Greece (ιμάμ μπαϊλντί imám baildí), Albania, Armenia, and the Arab world (إمام بايلدي, imām bāyuldi). A similar dish is popular in Iran, although various other vegetables and herbs may also be added to the filling.
- Speake, Jennifer & LaFlaur, Mark (2002). "imam bayildi". The Oxford Essential Dictionary of Foreign Terms in English (Published online from original 1999 print publication). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/acref/9780199891573.001.0001. ISBN 9780199891573. Retrieved 2020-03-12 – via Oxford Reference.
- "TÜRK DİL KURUMU". Tdk.gov.tr. Retrieved 15 December 2017.
- Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall (15 October 2010). "Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's aubergine recipes". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 May 2015.
- "Imam bayildi with BBQ lamb & tzatziki". BBC Good Food. Retrieved 2019-01-11.
- "Aubergines 'imam bayildi'". Financial Times. Retrieved 2019-01-11.(subscription required)
- John Ayto, The Glutton's Glossary: A Dictionary of Food and Drink Terms, Routledge, 1990, ISBN 0-415-02647-4, p. 146.
- Gregory McNamee Movable Feasts: The History, Science, and Lore of Food, Greenwood Publishing Group, 2006, ISBN 0-275-98931-3, p. 82.
- Less commonly known as μελιτζάνες ιμάμ, melitzánes imam, aubergines "imam"
- Marie Karam Khayat and Margaret Clark Keatinge, Food from the Arab World, Khayats, Beirut, 1961.