Imam Bayildi

This dish was originated in Turkey and the name translates to "Imam fainted", as it i believed that when the Imam (priest) was served this and he ate it, it was so good that he fainted. Let's see if it makes you faint. I thoroughly enjoyed it but my husband wasn't keen as he doesn't like tomatoes. We had it as a starter and it was more filling than it looks.


low fat cooking spray

1 red onion, chopped

1 red pepper, diced

4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

400g tin of tomatoes

2 tsp sweet paprika

2 tsp sumac or lemon juice if you can't find any sumac

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp oregano

2 tsp Erythritol or sweetener

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

salt & pepper

a few leaves of fresh coriander or basil


Preheat the oven to 190c or 180 for fan ovens.

Cut the aubergines into half, lengthways. score the flesh inside carefully in a crisscross manner trying not to cut through the skin. Put them onto a baking tray which has been covered with foil and spray all the foil and aubergines to prevent them sticking. Put them into the middle of the oven and cook for 30 minutes.

While they are cooking make the filling by spraying a frying pan with low fat cooking spray and put on a medium heat. add the onions, pepper and garlic and sauté for about 5 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients to the pan except the fresh herbs. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for about 5 minutes.

Take out the aubergines when they are cooked and press around the edges carefully so the crisscross opens up to capture the juices. Place the filling from the frying pan, on top of the aubergines and put them back into the oven. After about 10 minutes they should be ready. Sprinkle some fresh herbs over the top to finish.

You can serve these as a starter alone, just half or you could have them as a full meal with something like rice as an accompaniment. Just remember how i said they were quite filling as they were.

These can be frozen once they have fully cooled down. When you defrost them, pop them into the oven and heat through until piping hot.


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