One of the true joys of blogging is the wonderful emails I receive from people all over the world: people I have never met but who have somehow stumbled upon my blog and are nice enough to write.
This time last year I received such an email from one John Guise who lives in New Zealand. He used to live in Turkey in the late 70s and now has a free Turkish learning website called Manisa Turkish!
He has since written an e-book called ‘The Turkish Language explained for English Speakers’. He was actually asking me whether he could use a post that I had written about Turkish olives (yes!) but at the same time he added that one of his all-time favourite Turkish dishes was karnıyarık – literally meaning slit belly!
So, John, one year later, here is the recipe!
For those of us who live here in Turkey, this is yet another beloved patlıcan dish that we are all familiar with.Use the end-of-summer aubergines quickly before they disappear, not to mention the last of the fabulous
Use the end-of-summer aubergines quickly before they disappear, not to mention the last of the fabulous Çanakkale tomatoes and you will be amply rewarded.
Karnıyarık is actually very similar to İmam Bayıldı/ The Imam Fainted, which is served cold. Because karnıyarık has meat, it’s served hot!
Be careful with the frying and the amount of oil you use: aubergines can absorb a lot if you let it! You don’t want it too greasy.
This is one reason for the salting beforehand which also removes any lingering bitterness.
Ingredients for Karnıyarık or Eggplant Stuffed with Tomatoes and Mince
8 long eggplants kemer patlıcan
200g/7oz minced beef dana kıyması
4 long thin green peppers sivribiber
2 tbsp chopped parsley maydonoz
1 tbsp tomato paste domates salçası
1 cup warm water
1 tbsp cooking oil – I use sunflower oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup cooking oil
- Peel the aubergines in stripes keeping the stem intact, and place in a bowl of salty water for 10 minutes.
- Chop the onions and one green pepper. Remove the seeds from the remaining 3 and cut into long strips. Peel 2 of the tomatoes and chop. Slice the last remaining one and reserve.
- Now, cook the mince in a pan on low heat till the juices run out.
- Add the tbsp of oil, salt, pepper and onion and continue cooking.Then add the chopped green pepper, chopped tomatoes, and tomato paste and continue cooking for another 7-8 minutes.
- Then add the chopped green pepper, chopped tomatoes, and tomato paste and continue cooking for another 7-8 minutes.Finally add the parsley, stir and remove from the heat.
- Finally, add the parsley, stir and remove from the heat.
- In another frying pan, add the cooking oil. Remove the aubergines from the salty water and dry well on kitchen paper.
- Use the prongs of a fork to prick them all over and then carefully fry on all sides.
- Place on kitchen paper so that the excess oil is absorbed.
- Then place the aubergines next to each other in an ovenproof dish.
- Using a knife, carefully slit each lengthwise. DO NOT CUT ALL THE WAY THROUGH OR ALL THE WAY TO THE ENDS, and gently push the two halves apart.
- Remove any excess seeds. Use a spoon to fill each one with the meat mixture.
- Decorate each filled aubergine with a slice of tomato and green pepper.
- Add the water.
- Place the dish in the pre-heated (200°C/400°F) oven and cook for 35 minutes.
- Serve hot with a rice or bulgur pilaf!