Almost Turkish Recipes

Eggplant Papucaki (Patlıcan Papucaki)

This is a typical Aegean dish that you can find on both Turkish and Greek sides of the Aegean Sea. As much as the dish itself, I love its pronunciation: pa-bu-ja-ki. Given the suffix -aki the name sounds definitely Greek, however "papuc" or "papuç" is a Persian word "paposh" (پاپٯش) that is used in Turkish and means shoe or slipper. So maybe these little shoes are not "typical"Aegean after all, who knows?

I have eaten two different versions of papucaki. One was made by boiling the eggplants and then stuffing them and the other one featured roasted eggplants, which was more appealing to my taste.

4 small(er) eggplants, Italian eggplants are perfect for papucaki
2-3 green peppers or 1 bell pepper, finely chopped
3-4 green onions, chopped
2-3 tomatoes, diced or grated
juice of 1/2 lemon
2-3 tbsp olive oil
~1 cup grated mozzarella or feta cheese
2 egg
4 bay leaves
salt and pepper

-Place eggplants on a baking sheet, poke holes in them and roast in the oven at 400F until they collapse and the flesh is all the way soft, ~40-45 minutes.
-Once they cool down, cut a rectangle piece on top as in the picture and scoop out the flesh.
-Dice the roasted eggplant flesh and mix them with lemon juice in a bowl.
-In a pan heat olive oil and add onion and peppers. Stir until soft.
-Add diced eggplant flesh and cook for 2 minutes.
-Add tomatoes, salt, black pepper, and bay leaves and cook until tomato juice cooks off.
-Beat eggs in a bowl and stir them in the tomato mix and stuff the eggplants with this. [I usually skip egg part]
-Cover the tops with grated cheese.
-Place stuffed eggplants in an oven dish and bake in a preheated oven at 400F for 15-20 minutes.
serve immediately.


  1. The typical "papucaki" in Greece at least is with ground beef stuffing and bechamel on top, roasted in the oven of course. What you have made here we would call it "imam bayldi"...go figure!However, in my books anything with eggplant is definitely a must in my kitchen, no matter what it is called!! Lovely recipe as always.

    1. Anonymous8:28 AM

      Imam bayildi is without meet my friend. just onions garlic, parsley, tomato etc.

  2. Imam bayildi is a bit different than this in Turkey; eggplants are deep fried, there lots of onion and garlic involved, and of course no eggs or cheese. Getting more complicated: seems like we share the names but not necessarily the same recipes :)

  3. Great recipe, Burcu. Eggplant is my favorite vegetable (i think i say it everywhere:) and I welcome anything made with it, regardless of the origins. I make zucchini papucaghi too, but eggplant beats it for me:)Yours looks yummy.

  4. betty7:03 PM

    Beautiful blogsite-thank you for the wonderful pictures and information!!!Betty

  5. Anonymous12:46 PM

    This is an amazing blog!
    I've just made this stuffed eggplant, it was delicious. thanks!
    I'm hungarian and obviosly papucaki is another word we got from the Turkish, it is papucs (pronounced phapooch)in magyar. :)

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  8. Sorry for the 2 deleted comments. I am not thinking straight today, again, so sorry. I will be trying this recipe this weekend, I just bought 2 nice eggplants yesterday, and have all the other ingredients on hand already. Thanks for sharing, I'm always looking for new eggplant recipes.

  9. I have a question... Although I cannot eat eggplants because they make me break out even when I handle them without gloves. :P (Tragic!!!) Yet, I like to make eggplant dishes for guests. Until now I only used them peeled and cubed, though. When you serve dishes like papucaki, is the skin eaten or you scrape the flesh off of it?

  10. Fecho, for pabucaki you already scrape the flesh to stuff it in later, but the skin is definitely edible and delicious.

  11. Anonymous1:09 PM

    Eggplant came to Turkey and Greece from Persia relatively recently. It was not part of Ancient Greek or early Turkish cuisine, but is found in Byzantine Greek recipe references.

    In terms of papucaki or papoutsakia, this merely refers to the shape of individual halves in a casserole dish. They can be cooked any variety of ways and one can find Biyaldi type or the way mentioned in the entry. Even within Turkey there are huge regional variations on Biyaldi

  12. Wow I like eggplant. I will definitely try this one. Thank you very much for sharing this one.

  13. Anonymous11:05 AM

    Pabuc means shoe in Turkish (the origin may be Persian). -aki is an endearment in Greek. So pabucaki is tiny shoe. Referring to the shape. A criss-cross of Ottoman times probably. Whatever the case it is a favourite Turkish dish. (Bayıldı, ie. imam bayıldı is completely different, lots of onions, tomatos, lots and lots of olive oil - so, the imam fainted.)

  14. Anonymous4:42 AM

    LOVE your recipes! Thanks for sharing :)

  15. This looks great Burcu and I am going to try it! Thank you! What temperature and how long to bake the eggplant for? In any liquid or just on its own?

    1. Thanks for the question! it should be at 400F and on its own, no juice of any sort. And it usually takes 40-45 minutes for a whole eggplant to get softened.

  16. I too love eggplant, and right now have an abundance, as well as tomatoes and peppers. Got two nice little freshly picked ones in the oven roasting, but I will add garlic to your recipe, as well as a hot pepper as I like things spicy.

  17. When I finished cooking the filling, the whole thing seemed a little wet. Added some grated parmesan and breadcrumbs, added the egg, and cooled the mixture for an hour or so before stuffing. They were delicious, and I will use this as a basis for more stuffed eggplants. They looked beautiful, and I love the name.