Paprika Crusted Cod with Imam Bayildi

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Serves 4

If you have never heard of Imam Bayildi don't be surprised. I would class myself as having a good knowledge of food, but this, when I found it was new to me. It is just another aubergine stew in its basic form. A bit like caponata without the sweet and sour, concentrating more on the aubergine and adding some spicing. It originates from Turkey. The Imam(priest) Bayildi (fainted) either from the enormous amount of oil used in preparing the dish( mine is a lot leaner) or the fact it tasted so fantastic he was overwhelmed. It is served with a raisin puree which has become fashionable these days. The Imam should contain currants but I omitted these and added the sweetness to the dish via the puree. To add a little extra Middle Eastern theme to the dish I curry roasted some pistachios. The Imam is a superb dish, especially if you love aubergines. I recommend doubling the quantites I suggest and leaving extra in the fridge for a few days. It just keeps getting better and better each day. I used cod here but any white fish will do. I removed the skin and dusted it with flour and paprika before pan frying.

  1. To make the Imam. Set oven to 200°c. Slice aubergine lengthways into 1cm slices. Brush with the oil and squeeze lemon over the top. Arrange on a baking tray. Finely chop the onion and sweat it with the spices for 10mins. Add the chopped tomatoes, plus the tomato puree. Put in a splash of water to loosen the puree. Cook for about 5 mins until the tomatoes have lost their shape. Spoon this over the aubergines, season well with salt and black pepper, cook in the oven for an hour. Remove, add to a large bowl and cut the aubergines up. Add another squeeze of lemon, the chopped herbs. Taste and adjust. It should have a bit of heat to it.
  2. For the raisins, add them together with the wine and sugar to a pan. Bring to a boil and continue to boil for 5mins. Remove from the heat and let it cool for 20mins. Puree the entire mixture, add a pinch of slat so that it is not too sweet.
  3. Add the oil and spices to a pan over a medium heat for the nuts. Then add the pistachios until they are coated and hot, about 2mins. 
  4. Mix the flour and paprika together. Place the fish into this so that only one side is coated. Heat some oil in a pan over a medium heat, then add the fish. Cook for 6mins one side. Turn over cook for 1 minute more then turn off the heat. Season again with salt and pepper.
  5. I served this with some boiled new potatoes.




  • 2 Aubergines
  • 2 Large Tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 Onion
  • 1 Tbsp Tomato Puree
  • 1 Tsp Cumin and Coriander
  • 1 Tsp Cayenne
  • 1 Star Anise
  • 1 Tbsp Chopped Parsley
  • 3 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Lemon

Raisin Puree


  • 4 Cod Loins
  • 2 Tbsp Flour
  • 2 Tsp Paprika
  • 1 Tsp Salt
  • Black Pepper

Roasted Pistachios

  • Large handful Pistachios
  • 1/2 Tsp Oil
  • Pinch Cumin, Corinader, Paprika, Tumeric, Salt and Pepper