It’s veggies galore this Lent and if you are after the perfect balance of sweet flavours in a savoury dish in the lead up to Orthodox Easter, this is the recipe for you.

Our resident home cook Rally loves cooking this recipe for her family, which never fails to please.

Imam Bayildi is a centuries old recipe orginiating in Asia Minor and is best enjoyed with some toasted crusty bread.

Rally notes that you should not need extra water as eggplants release enough during the cooking process, but if you think it looks a little dry feel free add water to create a nice saucy stew.

Happy cooking!

READ MORE: Eat your way through lent: Rally’s chilli and red sauce mussels

Serves: 4


4 large eggplants
5-6 cloves of garlic
2 large brown onions
3 large fresh onions
1 bunch continental parsley
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 cup passata
1 ½ cups olive oil
Salt/pepper to taste
1 tsp sugar
Drizzle of olive oil for saucepan


  1. Cut eggplants into eighths, without cutting all the way to the base (It should look like an open flower)
  2. Salt lightly, turn upside down and let any bitter liquid drain while you chop up the other ingredients
  3. Finely chop the garlic, slice all onions in half moon shapes, coarsely chop parsley and place in a large bowl
  4. Add can of tomatoes, passata olive oil, salt, pepper and sugar, tossing with a wooden spoon
  5. Pick up each eggplant shake any access liquid and stuff as much of the chopped ingredients into the grooves
  6. Lay each eggplant in a large saucepan and add any of the leftover ingredients over eggplants and drizzle of olive oil
  7. Place the saucepan on the stove top on a low heat, occasionally turn the eggplants every so often so that they soften on all sides
  8. Cover saucepan with a lid and let cook on very low heat for 2 – 2.5 hrs
  9. You will know when the eggplants are ready when the sauce has thickened and you can pierce the eggplant easily with a fork
  10. Enjoy accompanied with fried calamari, on toast or when not in lent with a sprinkle of feta