We use a lot of onion and garlic in Turkish cooking. Both have very valuable health benefits; onions carry healthy bifidobacteria and suppress the growth of potentially harmful bacteria in the colon. In addition, they can reduce the risk of tumors developing in the colon. Another good reason to welcome them in our dishes!
You can cook this dish ahead of time and gently reheat in the oven. Karniyarik freezes very well, once cooked.
Preparation time – 45 minutes Cooking time – 55 minutes
- 4 dark purple eggplants (aubergines; small to medium variety if possible), peeled in stripes lengthwise
- 340 gr / 12 ounces ground (minced) lean lamb or beef
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 400 gr /14 oz (1 can of) chopped tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1/2 tablespoon pepper paste
- 240 ml / 1 cup water
- 1 bunch or 1/2 cup Italian (flat) parsley, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 – 4 cups canola oil or ground nut oil for frying
- 6 thin slices of tomato and green bell peppers, seeded – for decorative topping
- 1 -2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Salt, freshly ground black pepper, a pinch of cumin and a pinch of dried mint.
Preheat oven to 180 C / 350 F
1- In each half of eggplant, cut a deep split lengthways without cutting through to the skin on the opposite side, leaving 12-13 mm- uncut at either end and the stalk intact. Then put them in salty water for 10 minutes.
2- Dry them well. Lightly brown them evenly on both sides in the canola oil or gorundnut oil. Once they’re fried, first soak the excessive oil by resting them on a paper towel at least half an hour, and then place eggplants with the split sides facing up into an oven dish.
3- In a little of the olive oil, sauté the onions until soft. Add the ground meat and salt, cook until all the moisture is absorbed. Add the garlic, chopped tomatoes, 1 1/2 tbsp tomato paste, 1/2 tbsp pepper paste and red pepper flakes. Continue cooking for a further couple of minutes.
4- Remove from the heat. Season with freshly ground black pepper, cumin and mint mix well.
5- Spoon the filling into the splits. On the top of each filled eggplant put a slice of tomato and a green bell pepper.
6- Mix rest of the tomato paste and pepper paste with 1 cup of hot water. Pour this mixture from the side of the dish. Cover and bake in the preheated oven for up to 45 minutes. Remove the cover and continue baking for another 15 minutes or until green peppers are nicely baked and eggplants are tender.
Serve hot with pilav/rice and a dollop of plain yogurt on the side. Afiyet olsun!