|Place of origin||Turkey|
|Region or state||Middle East|
|Associated national cuisine||Ottoman|
|Serving temperature||Room temperature|
|Main ingredients||Eggplant, onions, garlic, tomatoes, olive oil|
|Cookbook: İmam bayıldı Media: İmam bayıldı|
Imam bayildi (Turkish: İmambayıldı, 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 one of the most notable zeytinyağlı (olive oil-based) dishes and is found in most of the formerly Ottoman regions. The dish is served at room temperature or warm.
Imam bayildi is also well known under the Turkish name under minor variants of the Turkish name: Bulgaria, Israel, Greece (ιμάμ (μπαϊλντί), aka melasthani imam, the imam's aubergine), 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.
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 folktale 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.
- Jennifer Speake, Mark LaFlaur. "imam bayildi". The Oxford Essential Dictionary of Foreign Terms in English. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 2008-04-16.
- Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall (15 October 2010). "Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's aubergine recipes". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 May 2015.
- Marie Karam Khayat and Margaret Clark Keatinge, Food from the Arab World, Khayats, Beirut, 1961.
- John Auto, 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.