Sunday, August 30, 2009

Middle Eastern Eggplant and Zucchini in the style of Imam Bayildy

(pictured: eggplant on the left, zucchini on the right, with reduced sauce on top)

There is a Middle Eastern dish that I love called Imam Bayildy, which means the Imam fainted. It is a famous Turkish dish that you find in most Middle Eastern restaurants. The original dish is quite high in fat from the amount of olive oil that is traditionally used. Some say that is where it got its name. The Imam fainted when he heard how much of the precious olive oil was used to make the dish.

Since we are trying to keep our fat down to minimize our inflammation I decided to change the dish significantly. Additionally I decided not to stuff the whole split eggplants and then also to add zucchini. This is why I am calling this “in the style of Imam Bayildy". Many of the flavors are the same, but the technique and calorie count are very different.

Middle Eastern Eggplant and Zucchini in the style of Imam Bayildy
Serves 4


1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, finely diced
4 Roma tomatoes, peeled and diced
½ teaspoon of cumin seed
¼ teaspoon of coriander seed
¼ teaspoon of fennel seed
¼ teaspoon of cinnamon
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon of agave
14 ounce can of tomato sauce
½ cup of water
2 medium white eggplant
2 medium zucchini


Sauté the onion and garlic in the olive oil until tender. Add the remaining ingredients except the zucchini and eggplant. Cook over medium heat while you prep the zucchini and eggplant.

Slice the zucchini and eggplant lengthwise from top to bottom. Score the exterior of the eggplant to make it easier to cut later. Cut a deep cross hatch pattern into the interior of both the eggplant and zucchini to help them collapse so that they are reasonably flat when cooked.

Put the zucchini and eggplant interior down into the bubbling sauce. Cook covered on low heat for 20 minutes. Turn the zucchini and eggplant over and cook for an additional 20 minutes.

When the zucchini and eggplant are soft, remove them from the pan and move to a serving platter to cool to room temperature. The eggplant may cook more quickly than the zucchini. If this happens cook the zucchini until it is also soft and then remove to a serving platter to cool.

Continue to cook the sauce (uncovered) to reduce the sauce to a thicker consistency that you can serve on top the zucchini and eggplant. When the sauce is thick (about 15 minutes) cool it to room temperature.

This dish is best served room temperature or cold. Imam Bayildy is traditionally served cold but I think the flavors are better at room temperature.

Nutritional Information:

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 147.92
Calories From Fat (26%) - 37.83

Total Fat - 4.34g
Saturated Fat - 0.62g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 538.45mg
Potassium - 1168.11mg
Total Carbohydrates - 27.45g
Fiber - 11.71g
Sugar - 11.96g
Protein - 5.47g


You can make this dish with all eggplant or zucchini if you wish. I prefer eggplant and my husband likes zucchini so I make both versions at the same time. This is a much easier and healthier version of the iconic original dish. If you like Middle Eastern dish you should give this a try.

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