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The tasty trip to Asia Minor continues this week too!

Elenas shares with you another delicious dish brought by Greek refugees after the 1922 Smyrna disaster.

"Imam", refers to the traditional Greek aubergines filled with a delicious tomato sauce. This dish also falls under the category of "Ladera", which means Greek dishes prepared with olive oil, along with Gemista and many other delicious Greek dishes.

There is an interesting myth behind this traditional Greek dish. Its full name is "imam bayildi", which suggests that it originates from the Turkish language, which literally means "the imam has fainted"! There are three versions of the myth: the imam fainted from shock when he found out the extremely large amount of olive oil needed for this dish to be prepared, even considering the relevant costs. The second myth says that the imam fainted because the dish was incredibly delicious. The third tells us the story of a voracious imam who ate this dish so fast that he passed out!

Whatever the myth behind that recipe, one thing is certain: the taste of this dish lies in its simplicity and will amaze you!

This dish can also be found with ground beef.

Preparation time: 50 min (approx.)
Preparation time: 45 min (approx.)
Servings: 4-6 servings

For the aubergines:

For the filling/tomato sauce:

  • 4-5 tablespoons Greek extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 large onions, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • salt and pepper
  • 400g chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon thyme
  • 1 tablespoon parsley (or ½ bunch fresh parsley)

For serving:


This traditional Greek dish only takes 5 steps to make and these are:

  1. Prepare the aubergines: cut the aubergines into two pieces and cut them crosswise (the flesh). Season them and put them in a colander for about half an hour.

  2. Preheat the oven to 180 C.

  3. Prepare the tomato sauce while you wait: Add olive oil and onion to a pan over medium heat and sauté until soft. Stir in the garlic and sauté for 1-2 more minutes. Add sugar, salt and pepper. Saute over low heat for 15-20 minutes until the onions are caramelised. Add the tomato puree, the chopped tomatoes and the rest of the herbs. Stir and simmer for 5 minutes.

  4. After half an hour, wash the aubergines with plenty of water and drain on some kitchen paper. Now give them salt and pepper and olive oil. Place the aubergines, skin side up, in a baking tray lined with baking paper. Sprinkle with thyme and bake for 40 minutes until soft.

    Tip: This choice is ideal if you want to use the healthy method, but the traditional recipe includes frying the aubergines in a pan.

  5. Assemble your imam: Place the aubergines in the bottom of a roasting pan (skin side down) and press down on the flesh with a spoon so you can have enough room to add the filling. Pour the filling on top of each piece of eggplant and drizzle with olive oil. Bake for 15-20 minutes.

    Tip: Sprinkle the feta cheese on top and bake until golden, if you prefer. The original recipe does not include cheese.

Serve this delicious Greek dish with the feta cheese on top or on the side and some extra parsley. Alternatively, you can prepare a tasty yogurt sauce using a traditional Greek yogurt and your favorite Greek herb !

Kali oreksi / Welcome!

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