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Stuffed eggplant on a plate garnished with slices of green bell pepper.
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Karniyarik - Turkish Stuffed Eggplants

Karniyarik is the perfect family dinner recipe! Featuring juicy eggplants stuffed with beef, tomatoes and aromatic Turkish spices. Easy to make, baked to perfection, and generous servings.
Course Dinner
Cuisine Turkish
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 6 people
Calories 325kcal
Cost $10-$15

Ingredients

Instructions

  • First, preheat the oven to 180˚C / 356˚F.
  • Prepare your eggplants by peeling 4 strips from the skin lengthways. Chop off the very tops and bottoms then slice through the middle lengthways (but not all the way). Pull apart to expose the inside and get ready to fry.
    6 eggplants
  • Heat 1 tbsp vegetable oil in a large frying pan and add your eggplants. Cover with a lid and fry gently until softened (around 5-10 minutes), turning occasionally so they don’t burn. Note: The inside of the eggplant will turn darker and more transparent as it starts to soften.
    3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • Pop your beef or lamb mince in a separate saucepan over a medium heat. Allow it to cook down in its own juices for around 5 minutes (stirring frequently) until the liquid has evaporated and the meat is nicely browned. Add the oil, chopped onion, garlic and capsicum/peppers. Continue to fry for a few minutes or until the vegetables are soft, then add the tomatoes and cook down for another 5 minutes. Add the parsley, chilli flakes, sweet paprika, cumin, cinnamon, salt and pepper and stir through evenly.
    250 g beef mince, 1 onion, 4 cloves garlic, 1 capsicum / bell pepper, 2 tomatoes, 1 bunch parsley, 1 tsp sweet paprika, 1/2 tsp ground cumin, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, Salt and pepper, 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • Arrange the eggplants in a large baking dish belly side up, then stuff with the beef mixture. If you have any meat leftover, you can either pop this around the outside of the eggplants, or serve separately.
  • Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, and be sure to serve hot!
  • Garnish each eggplant with a few extra long green peppers, slices of capsicum or tomato before serving.

Notes

  • Eggplants/Aubergines - We recommend the smaller Asian-style eggplants if you can get your hands on them. They tend to have a sweeter, milder flavour and softer texture than regular eggplants, and are a better size for Karniyarik. It’s best to buy fresh eggplants right before you cook them, since they don’t tend to last too long in the fridge. According to our friend Gule, the trick to making Karniyarik is to peel thin strips from the outside of the eggplants before slicing them in half lengthways (but not all the way through). Feel free to scoop out the eggplant seeds if you like, but it’s totally optional. If you prefer not to fry your eggplants, you can grill them instead. For the ultimate smoky flavour, try grilling them on a charcoal grill or over an open flame. 
  • Beef Mince / Lamb Mince - You can use either according to your preference.
  • Veggies - This recipe calls for onion, garlic, capsicum / bell pepper and tomatoes. You could also use up other vegetables like carrots or celery if you prefer.
  • Herbs & Spices - You'll need chilli flakes, sweet paprika, ground cumin and ground cinnamon, along with fresh parsley.
  • Leftover Sauce - Place any remaining filling mixture around the outsides of the eggplants before baking. Or freeze to use later in moussaka, pasta sauce or your own homemade creation.
  • Garnish - Traditionally, Turkish stuffed eggplants are garnished with slices of red tomato and bright green chilli before baking. But you can easily switch it up with slices of fresh green capsicum/pepper instead.

Nutrition

Calories: 325kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 30mg | Sodium: 47mg | Potassium: 1342mg | Fiber: 15g | Sugar: 19g | Vitamin A: 797IU | Vitamin C: 34mg | Calcium: 65mg | Iron: 2mg