Food was not an important factor during those brief visits so my personal knowledge of Turkish food comes from restaurants in New York and it’s similarity to Mid-Eastern countries, like Lebanon and Syria.
For this stop on our Culinary Tour, I’m sharing a few of my travel photos and a delicious vegetarian dish called Imam Bayildi.
Within a space of 5 years, I visited Turkey twice. The first time was on a Mediterranean cruise that stopped in Istanbul for about 8 hours. I actually saw a lot in that short time…the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace and The Grand Bazaar… and I was impressed by the sounds (call to prayer), smells (spice market), and culture of the city. The second time was an excursion to the ancient ruins in Ephesus from a small Greek ship touring the Islands.
Ephesus was a remarkable experience that at once envelops you in the history of civilization.
Imam Bayildi (stuffed vegetarian eggplant)
The name supposedly derived from a Turkish imam who swooned with pleasure at the flavor of this dish when it was presented to him by his wife. Other accounts suggest he fainted at the cost of the ingredients. And even further stories that he fainted because of the amount of oil used to cook it. (Wikipedia)
When I was googling for a recipe that appealed to me, I came across the Give Recipe blog written by a Turkish woman named Zerrin. It’s a very attractive blog with beautiful photography and although I had never visited her website before, I saw in the comments that we share many readers — so some of you may already know Zerrin. I chose to follow her recipe for Imam Bayildi…or, as she calls it, imambayildi (one word).
About this dish…
This is a simple dish that delivers! At first glance, I thought the flavor profile was reminiscent of caponata or ratatouille but I discovered it had its own characteristics. I was tempted to add ingredients like feta cheese (or olives, nuts or capers), but I used self-control and stuck to the recipe. I’m glad I did. It was delicious in its simplicity and it was enhanced by the accompaniments.
This photo was taken in Istanbul. I was told this young boy was dressed in ceremonial garb for his circumcision (ouch!).
Allaha ismarladik*…as I leave you with this bit of inarguable wisdom from a Turkish proverb:
*hasta la vista, see ya’, ciao for now
Blogger Round-Up: Wednesday, January 26
Next Stop: Japan, January 30
Event info + details