Stuffed Aubergines

Imam Bayildı


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


Appears in

Yashim Cooks Istanbul

Yashim Cooks Istanbul

By Jason Goodwin

Published 2016

  • About

The name of this dish means the Imam fainted. Cookbooks will tell you he swooned at its delicious taste, or the cost of the olive oil. But I think it alludes to the yonic appearance of the split aubergine. Imam Bayildi is very good with an onion-based tomato sauce, but Yashim’s version instead uses the pomegranate molasses that tomatoes-with-sugar largely replaced in Mediterranean cooking.


  • onions 2, sliced
  • olive oil 150 ml/½ cup
  • garlic 4cloves, chopped
  • lemon 1, zested and squeezed
  • salt 1 tsp
  • cumin 1 tsp
  • aubergines (eggplant) 2 large
  • pomegranate molasses 2 tbsp
  • lemon wedges


  • Melt the onion very gently in olive oil, with the garlic, lemon zest, salt, and cumin, in a pan with a lid on.
  • With a peeler half-skin the aubergines in stripes, without cutting off the ends. Slit them from stem to stern, but keeping their hulls watertight by not quite cutting all the way through, to form a pocket. Put them in salty water for twenty minutes, then drain and squeeze.
  • Brown them on all sides in a frying pan with oil.
  • Lift the lid on the onions. Drizzle them with the molasses and lemon juice. Stir the pan and take it off the heat.
  • Open the pockets in the aubergines with your fingers, squeezing the flesh to make the opening large enough to take the onions. Stuff as much of the mixture as you can into each one, and lay them in a saucepan.
  • Pour in 100 ml. water, drizzle with olive oil and the remaining mixture, and bring the water up to the boil. Turn down the heat and barely simmer, with the lid on, for an hour. Baste now and again.
  • Serve them cut into thick slices, at room temperature, with oil and lemon wedges.