the fainting priest or imam bayildirating:
"There are many stories about the origin of the name of this dish. One of them we heard while visiting Ankara, Turkey's capital. A long time ago a Turkish Imam (Mohammedan priest ), known for his love of good food, surprised his friends by announcing his engagement to the young daughter of a wealthy olive-oil merchant. The friends did not know about her ability to cook. But they presumed part of her dowry would include olive oil. They were right. For her father gave the groom twelve jars, each one large enough to hold a person, of the precious oil. After her marriage the bride proved to be an excellent cook and each day prepared a special dish for her epicurean husband. One of them, eggplant cooked in olive oil, became his favorite. And he ordered that his wife prepare it each night for dinner. This she did for twelve consecutive days. On the thirteenth, however, the dish was missing from the meal. Queried about its absence, the bride replied, "Dear husband, I do not have any more olive oil. You will have to purchase some more for me." The lmam was so shocked that he fainted. And since that day, according to the story, his favorite dish has been known as Imam Bayildi, The Imam Fainted."
Another version is that he fainted because he was overcome by the amount of garlic in the recipe, or because it was so delicious
1 Large Aubergine
1 medium onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 Large tin or 6 fresh Peeled and Chopped Tomatoes
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 cup hot water
Juice of a Lemon
Remove the skin from the Aubergine in strips lengthways, sprinkle with salt and leave for 1/2 an hour or so for the liquid to seep out.
Fry the aubergine in olive oil to brown the outside and leave to stand while preparing the stuffing.
Saute the onions in some of the olive oil until soft. Add the garlic, tomatoes, salt, and pepper. Stir in the parsley.
Make a slit in the Aubergine lengthways, place in an oven dish and spoon in the stuffing, cover the aubergine in the rest if it wont all fit in.
Mix up the 1/2 cup hot water with the sugar and lemon juice and pour all over. Bake, covered, in preheated moderate oven (180C) for 40 minutes, then uncovered for 10-15 mins.
Serve hot with roast lamb or any barbequed meats. or as they do in Turkey, cold with yogurt.
Makes 4 to 6 servings.