Spicy, sweet and savory with an exotic middle eastern flair that livens up my holiday palate.

imambayildiImam Bayildi hearkens back to the Ottoman empire according to historians. The literal translation of this delicious little dish is, “the Imam fainted”. I’m imagining he fainted from such an extraordinary flavor combination, which is, as I later learned, the gist of the story behind the name. There is also another version, which implies that not only did the Imam faint from the scrumptious flavor but also from the exorbitant price of the ingredients back in the day.

Traditionally, Imam Bayildi is basically stuffed eggplant (deliciously stuffed), however, there are new recipes that offer slight variations of preparation making it easier to make and to eat. Imam Bayildi is meant to be served at room temperature and can be either a small plate part of an array of other dishes or a main entrée. The combination of sweet, spicy and savory with the texture that is a variant makes this dish an interesting and delightful treat.

From a health perspective, Imam Bayildi is made from some fantastic ingredients. Eggplant (aubergine), onions, tomatoes, olive oil, cumin, allspice, garlic and parsley (of course recipes can vary). It is a heart healthy dish that also contributes to a decrease in systemic inflammation and oxidative stress.