Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Imam Bayildi -- and then The Imam Fainted

Its the last week of summer hols around here. I am jittery. Guess why ? Big sis S starts Grade 1 next week in the big school. Yeah the little girl who was a couple months short of 3 when I first started this blog is going to be a first grader now.

Last week we went uniform shopping for her. Since she doesn't meet our township's cut-off date she is going to a private school for a year and then will be back in the public school system in Grade 2. Now this school she is going to is a Catholic School and they have uniforms.

That had made me very happy initially. Having been straitjacketed into uniforms 12 years of my life, I love them. What I didn't realize is, it was my Mom who shopped for my uniforms and also largely maintained them while I was merely a bystander. Now roles have shifted.

It was there at the uniform store, it hit me that I really need to live up to the role of a Mom . Nothing before, nor even the stubborn lactation consultant had thrust this thought into my face so hard as did the uniform store.

I realized that there are only so many shirts and tunics and gym shorts you can buy. I also realized that I need to gauge and buy the perfect size which will fit through whole year. Of course I can be extravagant and buy all sizes but then I won't be writing this blog, there would be someone writing it for me.

And because of the limited buying you need to maintain these stuff. As a responsible Mom you would need to iron the shirts every couple of days, you will have to sew on buttons 'coz those goddamn shirts have numerous buttons ready to fly off any minute, you might have to hem or un-hem skirts depending on how the child grows, you might even have to mend a rent in those expensive knee-highs, and then keep those black shoes shining bright.

The very thought that my Mom did all this and more through most of my school years, wanted me to book her a flight and bring her here. To reach that exalted position I need to apprentice at a laundry and go get a needlework for dummies. Till then I keep my fingers crossed that the dad does the ironing and I can fix those buttons with glue.

Eggplants stuffed and ready to go in the oven

Now as part of the celebrations I mentioned last week I made an exotic turkish dish for the small gathering at home. Exotic seems to be the right way to describe anything Turkish I feel but this one is really exquisite. And to think that I had no clue that such a dish existed on the face of earth until August 1st.

That is when we were visiting some friends. As kids were being taken care of and I had ample time to rummage through their book shelves I found a cookbook with this recipe. The name caught my attention. "Imam Bayildi" or The Imam fainted. Why, You say. Try this beautiful eggplant dish doused liberally with olive oil and infused with herbs, and you will know for yourselves

I also referred to this blog for very nice step by step pics as to what exactly should be done while peeling and stuffing, though my version was a tad different. This recipe has the measurements, mine are eyeballed.


Imam Bayildi

The recipe is for 4 eggplants

Get those long slender eggplants and trim the “heads”. Do not cut them completely off. Peel the eggplants in stripes i.e. the skin and the peel should run parallel. Put the eggplants in salted water. After 30 mins remove and drain on paper towel

Heat 1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil. This is a must and no other oil will do.Add two chopped red onion and saute till pink. Add 8 cloves of garlic minced.

Add 1 large juicy tomato chopped(or half a can of diced tomato), 1/2 cup of chopped coriander(the recipe said parsley), 1 tsp of citrus zest, white pepper powder, salt and sugar to taste. Saute till the tomato softens and is cooked. I added some Red Chili powder and also some garlic chives from my garden to spice it up.

Remove and keep aside

Now you need to fry the eggplants whole.

Heat 1/2 cup or a tad less of olive oil in a deep bottomed pan. Saute the whole eggplants till they are lightly browned on all side and a little soft but not thoroughly cooked. Do not try to do all the eggplants together, saute them individually. Note: I had to chop of a fraction of the eggplant tip because they weren't fitting into my frying pan. However if you are doing so do not cut from the head end

Arrange the eggplants in a baking dish

Cut open a slit/pocket in each eggplant. You might need to salt the pockets at this point if needed. Spoon in the stuffing in generous quantity into the pockets. If they spill over it is better. Pour in the juice and about 1/4 cup of hot water + olive oil into the baking dish.

Preheat oven to 375F and cook covered till eggplants are fully done. At the end of the process remove the cover and keep in oven for few more minutes to dry out any excess liquid.

Serve whole at room temperature

Baked Version (Updated n August '17):

Get those long slender eggplants or the smaller but selnder eggplants, and trim the “heads”. Do not cut them completely off. Peel the eggplants in stripes i.e. the skin and the peel should run parallel. Put the eggplants in salted water. After 30 mins remove and drain on paper towel

Preheat oven to 400F. For my toaster oven, I heated it to 425F

Line a baking tray with aluminum foil and put the eggplants face up. Score the flesh of the eggplant with a knife, making diamond patterns, but not cutting through the skin. Press sliced clove of garlic in the flesh of the eggplants.

Brush the eggplants generously with olive oil and salt. Put them face-down on the baking sheet. Bake for 25 mins.

Next take out the tray and carefully turn the eggplants so that they are now face up. Cover the tray loosely with an aluminum foil. Put back in the oven for 20 more minutes

Meanwhile, make the tomato-onion-garlic mix as you would in the regular version

After 45 mins or so when the eggplant are almost done, take out the baking tray. Scoop the tomato-onion mixture onto each eggplant face. Put back in oven for 10 mins

Serve with some feta on top

This was named Eggplant Indiana in our home!!!

Trivia:The BIG question. Why did the Imam faint ? Multiple choice, pick your own: a) The imam (Muslim prayer leader) fainted or swooned when he tasted how good it was b)the stingy imam fainted when he saw how much expensive olive oil was used c)the imam was delighted when a shopkeeper's wife was required to quickly prepare a dish for the imam's unexpected visit


  1. This looks nice! :) I was curious with the name as well.

  2. The name itself is a big mystery. Reading it I got confused. Strange name.
    I will have to make it to fully understand the name and solve the mystery.

    Thanks for such a wonderful eggplant recipe. I love eggplant.

  3. he he...I would have fainted if someone served vegetarian food to me.

    I had a most wonderful holiday at Turkey recently and you would be surprised to see the similarity between our food culture and their's

  4. DD starts Middle School this year. That thought of the exalted status of mom keeps hitting me every now and then and I have come to a sad conclusion that I am never going to reach there but that is ok :)

    As for this eggplant dish, I have it once before it looks like I can faint from the happiness as well.

  5. Aw, Little S is getting bigger! School going already?! Love the look of the dish, San. Remember seeing that in Asha's blog a while back and thinking it was a funny name for a dish:)

  6. Yeah kids are growing ! Sigh! My younger one is in kinder garten now and she's questioning me a lot now itself! I don't remember asking so much when I was the same age. I am good child and never soiled my uniforms beyond treatment or chew my shirt buttons often. But now I cannot expect the same. This is really a faint worthy recipe ! And Sandeepa I can't stop lauging at all the choices of answers ! ha ha ha...

  7. Ha HA - that is an interesting name, I'll go with (a). Funny story to go with the recipe. have to try it,we have bumper eggplant crop this year from our veggie garden and I'm stuck at what to do with them....
    My older daughter just started K at a Presbyterian school, had to do the uniform thing too...

  8. I think the recipe book will want the (a) .. but reality will be (b). :-)
    Eta khub easy toh .. ekbar try korbo.

  9. I hated my uniforms, esp when we had to move from a pinafore to a skirt.

    Multiple choice answer: a

  10. ki darun recipe eta. We all love turkish food in our house, & after 7 hills of istanbul in NJ, we had been hunting but now found one great restaurant.

    what a fun name;-)

  11. I first heard about this dish from Asha :-)

    So, is S all excited about school and uniforms. All the best and hugs to her. R and A go back next Thursday.

  12. Sandeepa,
    I wish luck to S for her Grade 1. Your write-up took me back to my school days. Even I studied in a Catholic School and so there was too much discipline in the uniform, everything had to be perfect. Then may be I hated those nuns who used to punish even if the socks were a little down or the shirt's first button was open, but now I really miss those days. :)
    Loved your recipe, but can you please suggest an alternative way to cook it in a microwave oven.

  13. apurbo recipe! amar money hoy the imam fainted karon eto darun ranna dekhe ebong tar aparub procheshtay! dharona korte parenni je beguner moto shobjiteo gun korano jay!! hehehe!

  14. Unable to view your photos? It says photo bucket exceeded?

  15. Hi Soma,

    If you ever try making an authentic Kolkata moglai paratha, would you put up a link to the recipe?

    Thank you :)

  16. Inji

    Yeah, just saw it too. Guess they need to be paid now ;-)


    Sorry, but I am not Soma :D

    Hello Everyone
    Thanks for the comments
    I guess I had missed Asha's recipe. Just now checked it out.

  17. Lovely recipe.
    What about lunch boxes?! Here in Melbourne we also had to send lunch boxes and water bottles.More often than not they lost the bottles and then there was the mad scurry in the mornings to find yet another bottle.It took me several hours to buy a suitable lunch box too,one which is easy to open,lasts long,no pink color,yes mine is a boy,no fancy pics on top.It goes on.
    All the best to you and daughter.

  18. Jah, kar naam likhte kar naam likhlam. Tomar website aar ecurry dutoi ami dekhi majhe majhe, Sandeepa. Jai hok, moglai parathar recipe request ta mone rekho paarley :)


  19. All the best to Big S for her new school...recipe ta darun aar easy...btw, sandeepa, amar event-e tomar entry pelam na to? Today is the last can send from archive,too..just thought to remind you if missed

  20. and the eggplant recipes keep showing up when i think i have seen most of it :D

  21. As always I love visiting your blog with my morning tea...the title made me laugh! Hmmm....lil S is a first grader already? How soon these babies grow!!

  22. OMG! How did you know?! At this point, we just have put our house on the market. Will move to a rental wtnin NJ for the next few months, maybe a year. Then off to India for good. At lesat, that's the plan. We'll see! :)

  23. Ok...i had to check out the latest on your blog...and you are just too funny! I loved the way you wrote about the whole process of keeping up the uniform and about the time when it hit you that you are a mom :D..Actually one of my friends told me the same thing..only when she had to buy school supplies for her kids..did it hit her..that she is a mom :D

  24. Iam here after a time, Sandeepa. So, the little one has started school already, has she?
    Interesting name and answer choices :-))

  25. I've been looking for a good recipe for eggplants! This looks great. Thanks for the post!

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  28. Oh my!!! You are just too true to be good. How do you manage to write and research on such wonderful things? You have inspired me to work harder now. I shall try as much as possible to enjoy life to the fullest and be satiated with the wonderful things that are around me, which I have been unaware of until now.

  29. The stuffed eggplants look so long did you bake it in the oven?


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