Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Stuffed Eggplants - Karniyarik

Stuffed Eggplants - Karniyarik

Karniyarik word by word translates as "split belly". Eggplants are stuffed with seasoned minced meat. This is a very Turkish recipe which is cooked in all regions of Turkey. This happens to be my husband's favorite dish.

When we invite our American friends to dinner for the first time, I usually don't choose a very authentic dish like this one. One time, however, my husband insisted that his colluege was very adventurous with his taste and I should cook his favorite dish as the main course...and I did... hour before they are supposed to arrive, we both started to wonder "what if they did not like eggplants" and we almost panicked. We decided to have an "alternate choice" ready at hand, just to make sure the dinner didn't end up being a fiasco. He went out and got some "Shish Kebabs" from a local Iranian restaurant. We tucked away the kebabs in the oven away from eye sight "just in case". Our friends came, we served dinner. We were carefully watching their faces as they ate to see if we should bring in the alternate dinner. It all went well. When his friend finished his plate and asked for seconds, we both bursted out laughing. My husband went to the kitchen, brought out the big container of kebabs and we had our confession.

In the original "karniyarik" recipe eggplants are fried before stuffing them. To avoid frying, I have modified the recipe. I cook the eggplants in an oven cooking bag instead of frying. It tastes just as good. Hope you like it too.


  • 4 Japanese/Chinese eggplants
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/2 lb lean ground beef
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup parsley, chopped
  • 1 bellpepper, cut into strips
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 cup boiling water

Use Japanese/Chinese eggplants

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Wash and dry the eggplants. Remove tops, peel eggplants lengthwise as in the photo below, cut the eggplants in half.

Peeled eggplants

 Place them in an oven cooking bag. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes until eggplants are soft, but not fully cooked. Depending on the size of the eggplants you may need to bake them more than 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, let it cool down to room temperature.

Eggplants in an oven cooking bag

Sauté onions in olive oil in a pan for about 3 minutes. Add ground beef and saute for another 3-4 minutes. In a small bowl, mix tomato paste in 1 cup of boliing water. Add chopped tomatoes and half of the tomato paste, salt & pepper. Simmer for 5 minutes, remove from heat. Add chopped parsley and mix with a spoon.

Seasoned minced meat filling

Reheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove eggplants from the bag, place them in a Pyrex dish. Using a knife, scar and open up the bellies of the eggplants, but do NOT cut all the way through.

Open up the bellies of eggplants to be filled

Using a spoon, stuff the eggplants with the ground beef filling. Place sliced tomatoes and slices of pepper to garnish the tops. Pour the remaing half of tomato paste mixture around the eggplants.

Filled eggplants ready to be baked

Cover the tray with aluminum foil, place it in the oven. Let it cook for about 30 minutes. Again, depending on the size and the type of eggplants used, you may need to cook them for longer. Please check for doneness. When checked with a fork, eggplants should be tender when fully cooked. Remove the aluminum foil, let it bake for 5 more minutes to let it brown on the top. Remove the dish from the oven.

Cooked "karniyarik" ready to be served

It is usually served with rice.

Afiyet Olsun! Bon Appetit!

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