Karniyarik – Turkish Stuffed Eggplants

Bring the flavours of Turkey into your kitchen with this juicy Karniyarik Turkish Stuffed Eggplants recipe. Baked eggplants stuffed with an exotic blend of minced beef, sauteed onions, garlic, tomatoes, bitey parsley and gorgeous Turkish spices.

Karniyarik Turkish Stuffed Eggplants Recipe - A hearty dinner filled with beef mince, tomato and of course - eggplant! This Middle Eastern dish is your answer for an easy weeknight meal. Gluten-free. | wandercooks.com

Ooh sorry. Don’t mind me. Even just a picture is enough to set our mouths watering. 😛

We first came across this recipe for Karniyarik (Turkish Stuffed Eggplants) in Istanbul while staying with our two incredible hosts Gule and Chennar.

(Incidentally, they’re the ones who also taught us how to make this super delicious homemade Turkish Ayran Yoghurt Drink, too. 😛 )

Karniyarik Turkish Stuffed Eggplants Recipe - A hearty dinner filled with beef mince, tomato and of course - eggplant! This Middle Eastern dish is your answer for an easy weeknight meal. Gluten-free. | wandercooks.com

Karniyarik is a super popular Turkish recipe, and what I find so amusing is that the name literally translates to ‘split belly’.

This is because the small purple eggplants are split in half lengthways before being stuffed and cooked down into soft, spicy deliciousness.

Karniyarik Turkish Stuffed Eggplants Recipe - A hearty dinner filled with beef mince, tomato and of course - eggplant! This Middle Eastern dish is your answer for an easy weeknight meal. Gluten-free. | wandercooks.com

According to Gule, the trick to making Karniyarik is to peel thin strips from the outside of the eggplants before slicing them in half lengthways. After that they’re popped on a hot fry pan for a few minutes to soften juuuuust right before stuffing.

Karniyarik Turkish Stuffed Eggplants Recipe - A hearty dinner filled with beef mince, tomato and of course - eggplant! This Middle Eastern dish is your answer for an easy weeknight meal. Gluten-free. | wandercooks.com

On that hot summer’s night in Istanbul we set our eggplants to fry in one pan while our beef stuffing sautéed away in another.

Along with the beef mince there were onions, garlic, tomatoes and parsley simmering away, sending their mouthwatering aromas into the air.

Karniyarik Turkish Stuffed Eggplants Recipe - A hearty dinner filled with beef mince, tomato and of course - eggplant! This Middle Eastern dish is your answer for an easy weeknight meal. Gluten-free. | wandercooks.com

The smell alone was enough on their own to make our mouths water. And that was BEFORE a few sprinklings of cumin, cinnamon, sweet paprika and chilli made their way into the mix, filling the kitchen with their gorgeous warmth.

OMG. Soooo gooooood.

Karniyarik Turkish Stuffed Eggplants Recipe - A hearty dinner filled with beef mince, tomato and of course - eggplant! This Middle Eastern dish is your answer for an easy weeknight meal. Gluten-free. | wandercooks.com

Karniyarik – Turkish Stuffed Eggplants

Traditionally, Turkish stuffed eggplants are garnished with slices of gorgeous red tomato and a bright green chilli before bubbling away in a hot oven. But you can easily switch it up with slices of fresh green capsicum/pepper instead.

For the best flavour and texture, be sure to use smaller Asian-style eggplants if you can get your hands on them. They’re a better size for Karniyarik and bring a softer texture to the dish than if you use the thick dark purple ones.

It’s a good idea to buy your eggplants right before you cook them, since eggplants don’t always fare that well for extended stints in the refrigerator.

Which we may or may not have learned from previous experience.

Cough. 😛

Karniyarik Turkish Stuffed Eggplants Recipe - A hearty dinner filled with beef mince, tomato and of course - eggplant! This Middle Eastern dish is your answer for an easy weeknight meal. Gluten-free. | wandercooks.com

Don’t forget to serve your freshly baked Karniyarik with an ice cold glass of Turkish Salted Yoghurt Drink (Ayran). Or if you’re looking more Middle Eastern delights, check out our Egyptian Koshary spiced up with a fresh homemade Baharat spice blend.

4.8 from 6 reviews
Karniyarik - Turkish Stuffed Eggplants
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Bring the flavours of Turkey into your kitchen with this juicy Karniyarik Turkish Stuffed Eggplants recipe. Baked eggplants stuffed with an exotic blend of minced beef, sauteed onions, garlic, tomatoes, bitey parsley and gorgeous Turkish spices.
Author:
Recipe type: Dinner
Cuisine: Turkish
Ingredients
  • 6 small purple eggplants/aubergines, washed
  • 250 g beef or lamb mince
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp corn oil
  • 1 brown onion, thinly chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly chopped
  • ½ cup green capsicum/peppers, thinly chopped + extra slices for garnish
  • 2 tomatoes or 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 small bunch parsley, washed and chopped
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • Salt & pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Go ahead and preheat that oven to 180 degrees celcius.
  2. Now, prepare your eggplants by peeling 4 strips from the skin lengthways. Chop off the top and bottom then slice through the middle (but not all the way). Pull apart to expose the inside and get ready to fry.
  3. Heat 1 tbsp vegetable oil in a large frypan and add your eggplants. Cover with a lid and fry gently until softened.
  4. Alright now pop your beef or lamb mince in a separate pan and heat gently. Allow it to cook down in its own juices until the liquid has evaporated and the meat is nicely browned. Top with corn oil and pop in your chopped onion, garlic and capsicum/peppers. Continue to fry until ingredients are soft, then add your tomatoes and cook down for another 5 minutes.
  5. Now add your parsley, sweet paprika, cumin, cinnamon, salt and pepper and mix through until all the ingredients are well combined.
  6. Arrange your eggplants in a large baking dish belly side up. Feel free to scoop out the seeds if you like, but it’s totally optional. Stuff with the beef mixture and pop any remaining filling around the outsides of the eggplants.
  7. Don’t forget to garnish with a few extra long green peppers or slices of capsicum.
  8. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, and be sure to serve hot!

Karniyarik Turkish Stuffed Eggplants Recipe - A hearty dinner filled with beef mince, tomato and of course - eggplant! This Middle Eastern dish is your answer for an easy weeknight meal. Gluten-free. | wandercooks.com
Opt In Image
Start your Culinary Adventure here!

Grab your FREE ecookbook and kick start your kitchen travels in Vietnam. Then get ready for more global recipes, travel stories and cooking tips, delivered straight to your inbox.

 

16 Comments

  1. Hello! This looks amazing and I can’t wait to try it.

    Would you think it would be suitable to freeze uneaten portions?

    • Wandercooks

      25/01/2017 at 11:37 am

      Hey Tessa, thanks for stopping by. It should be perfectly fine to freeze the leftovers from this recipe. You could make up a big batch of the meat stuffing and freeze that separately if you wished, or make up a few complete with the eggplant as a quick meal to grab from the freezer. The eggplant will be nice and soft anyway from cooking so should soak up all those delicious flavours!

  2. I googled this recipe in English just out of curiosity. I’m sure this tastes good, but traditional karniyarik (or any other savory Turkish dish for that matter) does not have cinnamon in it. It doesn’t have cumin either, but that’s more tolerable in this recipe than cinnamon which we normally use for desserts. I have a feeling you’ve modified this recipe after your hosts taught you (by the way, unless “Chennar” is your misspelling of Cinar and “Gule” is “Gul”, those names are not Turkish either). Finally, karniyarik is never served with the stuffing outside/on the sides as you’ve pictured (generally, if you’ve miscalculated and end up with extra stuffing, you’d put it in a separate dish and just eat it on its own or crack an egg on it the next morning or something). Google “karniyarik tarifi” (which means “karniyarik recipe” in Turkish) and hit images. You’ll see that I’m right. Now, you may think this stuff doesn’t matter and your recipe is great as it is (which I’m sure it is to those who are not used to the traditional taste), but I always get annoyed when I see a traditional recipe modified and the fact that it is modified is not stated. Sorry for being a joykill- I just couldn’t help myself when I saw the cinnamon….

    • Wandercooks

      21/12/2016 at 10:44 am

      Hi Tugce, nice to hear from you and thanks for your thoughts on the recipe. We had an amazing time in Istanbul and loved recreating our experiences with our friends there. Our blog is all about weaving in our experiences with our recipes, so while this may not be your way to prepare this dish with the inclusion of cinnamon, it’s what we learned from our Turkish friends while we were there. The only change we made to Gule & Chennar’s method was the extra meat mixture around the eggplants so all those flavours and juices could soak up through the outside of the eggplants as well as the inside. You’ll have to try it for yourself and see what you think. Feel free to omit the cinnamon too if you prefer. It’s amazing how differently spices are used between kitchens and cultures – even within the same country! 🙂

      There is no one way to cook a dish – that’s why we love discovering different recipes. A great example is our two entirely different recipes for Udon Noodles based on two regions in Japan (mountain style and temple style). Embrace the differences and try something new! 🙂

  3. I followed the recipe exactly (except for adding the corn oil to the cooked meat). It was quite tasty!

    I was a bit confused about how to cook the eggplant, so I just rolled them around in the pan as they cooked, and they came out perfectly.

    • Wandercooks

      22/08/2016 at 3:46 pm

      Hey Mac, great to hear from you and glad you enjoyed the eggplants – sounds like you nailed it! Cooking the eggplants first just helps to soften them nicely before baking, and makes them easier to stuff too. We just popped them in the frypan with a little oil, covered with a lid to prevent the oil from spitting, and gently fried them (turning occasionally so they didn’t burn). If you have any more questions feel free to get in touch. 🙂

  4. Oh my what a great way to eat eggplants. I love them but have never ate them this way. I will have to give this a try, thanks!!

  5. First of all, your pictures are amazing. I also love these eggplants, they are divine!

  6. These look incredible, and I bet the mince has loads of flavour too.

    • Wandercooks

      01/07/2016 at 11:22 am

      Thanks Dannii, yep the beef mince with all those gorgeous spices is divine. Hope you enjoy! 🙂

  7. What a beautiful eggplant recipe!! I love that this is totally new to me and what a great way to add more eggplant into your day 🙂

    • Wandercooks

      01/07/2016 at 11:22 am

      That’s what we love most about food and cooking! There’s always something new to learn and new tastes to discover. Happy eggplant eating! Haha 🙂

  8. Oh my, these sound absolutely amazing! And I’m with you on the photos – enough to make me crave these straight away (and I don’t even eat meat!)

    • Wandercooks

      30/06/2016 at 8:39 am

      Haha thanks Donna! I’m sure a vegetarian substitute would be equally delicious! Perhaps you could substitute rice or quinoa?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

*

Rate this recipe:  

© 2017 Wandercooks

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑