Cold Eggplant Dish (Imambayildi…or Imam Fainted) and Giveaway!

Once upon a time,I went on a diet. So conscious about my weight, hips,and thighs, I decided that I was going to shed those extra pounds from my 5’4″ and almost 125 pounds figure.

Sometimes, I have hard time to let things go and the weight loss adventure became one of them.  It got out of control because I could not stop dieting. And I kept losing weight. As I kept losing, I liked how thin I was and I kept dieting. In this vicious cycle, the dieting became “anorexia” and I eventually hit 76 pounds mark, leaving my family in despair and panic about what to do and how to help me.

Of course, I stopped eating what they were cooking. For the anorexic me,  they consumed unacceptable amount of fat and unnecessary calories. While they were enjoying great dishes, I survived on apples, grissini, a little bit of cheese, salad and anything that said “diet” or “light” on their package including LOTS of diet coke to feel full!

This dish was one of the first ones to “not to put in my mouth in a million years!”  with the amount of olive oil in it. I did not make any distinction between butter and oil at that time. Anything that had a little greasy spot on it was crossed out of the list! My family started changing the way they cooked. Instead of frying the eggplants for this dish, they started cooking on stovetop with a little oil and tomato sauce. Or sometimes they would cook separately for me. I put them through quite a bit those days.

When I saw the lean, firm purple eggplants at the farmer’s stand the other day, I could not help but think how easy it would be to fry them since they are long. I smiled immediately since I realized finally I was coming to terms with this dish after all those years. I decided to consume those extra, oily  unncesessary calories because you know what? I never wanna be 76 pounds again!

I called my grandma about the recipe, she gave me the fake version first. They still don’t fry the whole eggplants. They cut them in  thick slices and cook them in little olive oil and tomato sauce along with the other ingredients.

Here is the real deal: You find some lean, long eggplants (Chinese ones probably). You fry them. You will get burned, the oil will get all angry, will splatter and you will have little oil marks on your arms. Don’t back down! Keep frying.

Then make the filling with onions and garlic..LOTS of onions and garlic. Stuff the eggplants. Bake them in tomato sauce.Eat them cold. Put some Neosprin on your burn marks.

So why did the Imam faint? There are two rumors about it. One is that he found the taste so overwhelmingly good, he just fainted right on the spot. The other one is that he was so frugal and when he learned how much olive oil, garlic and onion was used for the dish, he worried about the money spent and fainted.

I bet none is true! I bet he was anorexic and after seeing all the oil on his plate, he faked the faint to be excused from the table and not have to eat it! We’ll never know!

To celebrate my upcoming blog anniversary, and for you to practice your Turkish cooking (What? I never told you there was going to be a quiz afterwards?), I am giving away $30 gift certificate for you to shop at the online Turkish food store, Best Turkish Food,  located in the USA. So, if you are located in the US (they do not ship internationally, sorry!), there are several ways to enter:

1. Leave a comment below telling me which Turkish dish is your favorite or what you would like me to try next.

2. Go to my Facebook page, and “like” the page, then come here and leave a comment here telling me you did so.

3. Follow me on Twitter and leave a comment here telling me you did so.

You have until 7/23 midnight to do one of these or all of these to increase your chance. I will pick a winner through one of the services offered by on 7/24. Please enter your email for me to be able to reach you and give you the online code for your shopping.

Afiyet Olsun!

Imambayildi (Turkish Vegetarian Eggplant Dish)

  • 4 long, purple eggplants
  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil for frying the eggplants
  • 1/3 cups of olive oil
  • 12 large whole cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1 large onion, very thin (paper thin) slices in half moon shape (almost 2 cups)
  • 2 sweet cubanella pepper, very thinly sliced
  • 1 large tomato (finely diced)
  • 1 cup of chopped Italian parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 large tomato (grated)

1. Peel the eggplants in stripes, salt them generously, set aside for 45 min.Don’t chop the tops off. Instead you can cut the extra leafy part around the stem with kitchen scissors if it is a lot but you do not have to.

2. Pour the 1/3 cups of olive oil in a deep saute pan, add onions, whole cloves of garlic, and cubanella peppers. Saute them until onion is transparent. Stir frequently, don’t let the onions and garlic brown.

3. After onions are cooked, add finely diced tomatoes, chopped parsley, salt, pepper and sugar into the saute pan. Cook for another 5 minutes. Turn the heat off, cover and let it cool.

4. Wash the eggplants, dry.

5. Heat 4 tablespoons of olive oil in a pan, fry the eggplants on each side until it is golden brown (1-2 min). Set the eggplants in a baking dish. Let it cool.

6. Slit an opening in the middle of the eggplant half way though. Don’t cut it all the way through the eggplant.  Make the opening little bigger with your fingers. You want it to look like a canoe.

7. Equally divide the filling among four eggplants. Stuff them well.

8. Pour the grated tomato into the baking pan, cover the pan with aluminum foil. Make several slits on the foil to let the steam escape.

9. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 45 minutes or until the eggplants are cooked thoroughly.


So sorry about being late!!! Today is July 26th… I am two days late to post this, because probably I am not used to the giveaways…

And also arranging the HTML codes on my page! I wanted to do this on my own but can not get the Random generator show up quite right. But at least I have the result here!!

True Random Number Generator

9 Powered by RANDOM.ORG

Shelly from Franish NonSpeaker will receive the online shopping code from Best Turkish
Thank you guys for your comments!!




  1. by Parsley Sage
    10:06 am
    Jul 16, 2011

    I read this one out to my husband. I think this is an incredible post. So brave! I don’t want you to be 76 pounds again either. We should be fat and happy :)

    As for my favorite Turkish dish? I’m a bread fiend myself and when I used to live in Germany, I’d get a few simits every weekend :)

  2. by Jennifer
    11:43 am
    Jul 16, 2011

    I want you to make me your Turkish Burger! ;)

  3. by Melinda
    9:00 pm
    Jul 16, 2011

    ah man, i was hoping you were giving away this dish and somehow shipping it to me! hehe. I can’t imagine you 76 pounds…I already think you are too skinny!!! but this dish looks DELICIOUS! Turkish dish, hmmm….anything you make!

  4. by Tanvi@SinfullySpicy
    4:01 pm
    Jul 17, 2011

    Your weight loss journey was so much fun to got a lotta control lady..I start with lot of enthusiasm then see a cup of pudding & go weak in the knees :)
    This eggplant dish is beautiful..the ingredients are quite similar to baingan bharta (indian smoked eggplant)..just them instead of stuffing, we make a mash..I know I will love it!

  5. by rebecca
    4:58 pm
    Jul 17, 2011

    great dish adore eggplant and so pleased your ok now hugs

  6. by Jeanette
    9:25 pm
    Jul 17, 2011

    Ilke, thank you for sharing your story about anorexia, such a prevalent but difficult topic. Congratulations on healing yourself and enjoying such wonderful healthy dishes as this cold eggplant dish – can’t wait to try it! Hope you are enjoying your summer!

  7. by Tori @ The Shiksa in the Kitchen
    12:27 pm
    Jul 18, 2011

    I love eggplant! Gorgeous. Do you think I could roast the eggplants rather than frying to save on calories? I love the smoky flavor that comes from roasting too… the stuffing sounds awesome.

  8. by Xiaolu @ 6 Bittersweets
    6:58 pm
    Jul 18, 2011

    I’ve never seen a dish quite like this, but I love eggplant and this looks bursting with flavor. Thanks for introducing me! Also thanks for sharing your story. We are the same height and I am only slightly less than you were at the beginning. I too went through some disorderly eating a few years ago in college (more binge than starvation) and it’s scary how easy it can become “normal” to be that way. But looking back all those diet products only made me hungry for the real thing which led to binging. I’ve since decided that nothing should be off-limits but the more indulgent dishes are best for an occasional treat to be enjoyed without guilt. Food is so delicious that it’s a shame to accompany it with so much guilt as modern society does. Anyway, I’m so glad to hear you are doing better and to see you share this lovely family dish. Congrats in advance on the anniversary =D

  9. by Shelley
    4:58 pm
    Jul 19, 2011

    I’m so sorry to hear about your past eating disorder. Thank goodness you were able to overcome it. Not to joke about a serious topic, but you really must have had willpower to have been able to avoid your family’s delicious sounding food. This dish looks divine! My Turkish friend Esra tells me that there is a version of baklava in Turkey that is amazing. I’m sure that would have to be my favorite food but I’ve yet to try it.

  10. by Shannon
    6:49 pm
    Jul 20, 2011

    You’re so amazing and strong Ilke! I love all the recipes on your blog. I can’t wait to try your baklava and this recipe Mmm Mmm Eggplant. As for something new maybe I Turkish take on pizza? Really anything you post in the future will be awesome.

  11. by Marly
    10:51 am
    Jul 22, 2011

    I love eggplant too and I’m so glad it was part of your recovery. I’m glad also, that you have such a caring and supportive family and they helped you through all that. I bet that imam fainted because he was so glad to see a vegan dish! ;-)

  12. by Tara Alisbah
    9:14 pm
    Nov 4, 2012

    Greetings, Selamlar!

    The story I have heard about the imam fainting, and which explains the significance of him being an Imam rather than any other profession, is the following: Olive Oil was used in the lamps that lit the mosques at one time, and when the Imam found out his wife had used a substanial amount of his fuel for a dish, he fainted at the thought of darkness in the mosque and the expense of replenishing…
    Onions and garlic aren’t and never were very expensive, so that would be unlikely to cause him to faint–more likely his wife would as you suggested in your entry, at how many cloves she had to peel!


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