İmam bayıldı

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İmam bayıldı
İmam bayıldı AvL.JPG
A plate of İmam bayıldı served with yogurt and rice
Alternative namesİmambayıldı
Place of originTurkey
Region or stateFormer Ottoman countries (Turkey, Greece, Albania, Kosovo, Bosnia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Armenia)
Associated cuisineOttoman
Serving temperatureRoom temperature or warm
Main ingredientsEggplant, onions, garlic, tomatoes, olive oil

İmam bayıldı[1][2] (literally: "the imam fainted")[3] is a dish in Ottoman cuisine consisting of whole aubergine 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.[4][5]

Origin of the name[edit]

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.[6] Another account is that he ate so much of it that he passed out.

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 aubergine dish with tomatoes and onions. On the thirteenth day, there was no aubergine dish at the table. When informed that there was no more olive oil, the imam fainted.[7]

Geographic distribution[edit]

Imam bayildi is also well-known under minor variants of the Turkish name in Bulgaria, Israel, North Macedonia, Greece (ιμάμ μπαϊλντί imám baildí),[8] Albania, Armenia, and the Arab world (إمام بايلدي, imām bāyuldi),[9] and in English as "Imam bayeldi". During Ottoman times, the dish also spread to Anatolia's Pontian minority; in their language, it's called imam-bayildin.[10]


An imam bayıldı made with ground meat becomes a karnıyarık.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 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. Archived from the original on 7 June 2020. Retrieved 12 March 2020 – via Oxford Reference.
  2. ^ "TÜRK DİL KURUMU". Retrieved 15 December 2017.
  3. ^ Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall (15 October 2010). "Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's aubergine recipes". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 May 2015.
  4. ^ "Imam bayildi with BBQ lamb & tzatziki". BBC Good Food. Retrieved 11 January 2019.
  5. ^ "Aubergines 'imam bayildi'". Financial Times. Retrieved 11 January 2019.(subscription required)
  6. ^ John Ayto, The Glutton's Glossary: A Dictionary of Food and Drink Terms, Routledge, 1990, ISBN 0-415-02647-4, p. 146.
  7. ^ Gregory McNamee Movable Feasts: The History, Science, and Lore of Food, Greenwood Publishing Group, 2006, ISBN 0-275-98931-3, p. 82.
  8. ^ Less commonly known as μελιτζάνες ιμάμ, melitzánes imam, aubergines "imam"
  9. ^ Marie Karam Khayat and Margaret Clark Keatinge, Food from the Arab World, Khayats, Beirut, 1961.
  10. ^ "Imam-bayildin". Pontos World.