Imam bayildi literally means ‘the imam fainted’ there are few folklore stories that go around with this. The story I grew up with was when this man first tried this dish he fainted as it was so good! It is also known as karniyarik, I guess in Turkish tradition imam bayaldi is meatless, but Albanians add meat, I have Turkish friends who add meat as well, and still call it imam bayaldi.
It really is delicious, it’s been a favourite of mine since I was a kid, I was never a big fan of eggplant but prepared like this I was. Now a day’s I like eggplant in many ways….its become one of my favourite vegetables!
You can make this a layered dish or stuff baby eggplants. Both ways are delicious!
What you will need for layered version:
- 2 large eggplants
- 1 tomato diced
- 2 tomatoes sliced for the top
- 1 onion chopped
- 1 cubanelle pepper chopped
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 cup of tomato sauce
Salt, pepper, 1 tsp cumin,1/2 tsp garlic salt, 1/2 tsp seasoning salt,1 tsp paprika
Wash & cut end of eggplants, peel skin if you like or leave it on. Cut into 1/4 inch or even thinner slices, bake in flat pan with olive oil sprinkle salt or you can pan fry which ever you prefer (frying the eggplant gives more flavour), you can also grill the eggplant, when done cooking set aside and make filling.
In pan saute onion, and pepper add ground beef, break up into small chunks, cook till peppers onions and tomatoes are tender. Add seasoning’s taste and adjust seasoning. In a pan add half the sauce on bottom of pan, layer 1/2 the eggplant then add meat mixture, layer on top with remaining eggplant. Spoon over the remaining sauce over, slice up the tomatoes and layer it on top of eggplant, and bake in oven at 350 for approx 1 hour and 1/2 or 2 hours until fully baked.
For stuffing baby eggplant:
- 8-10 baby eggplants cut in half
- 2 small tomatoes
- 2 small onions
- 1 cubanelle pepper
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tbsp of tomato paste
- 2 tomatoes sliced for the tops
- 1 cup tomato-sauce
Seasonings: salt, pepper, 1 tsp cumin,1/2 tsp garlic salt, 1/2 seasoning salt,1 tsp paprika
Cut eggplants in half, scoop out the inside of the eggplant (I use a melon scoop) , sprinkle salt on the eggplant to prevent browning.
Saute chopped onions, chopped pepper, chopped tomatoes, ground beef, add seasonings and tomato paste. Cook till tender, taste and adjust seasonings. Spread the tomato sauce on the bottom of pan. Lay the eggplants on baking dish and spoon the filling inside each half. Top with a slice of tomato.
Drizzle with olive oil, cover and bake at 350 for 1 and 1/2 hours to 2 hours or till fully baked.
You can cook the scooped eggplant with the meat, just mash so that it can softened and cook along with the filling, or you can make another use for it.