Karnıyarık (stuffed aubergines)

İ had request for my recipe of stuffed aubergines. So İ have to take the opportunity to post it here.

First comes the stuffed aubergine with minced meat, called Karnıyarık (literally meaning “split belly”). The recipe for the vegetarian stuffed aubergine called İmam Bayıldı will follow soon!


What you need for 4 people:

  • 4 aubergines/eggplants. Check out the right size, straight and not to small. The big round ones will not work for this recipe.
  • 500 grams of minced meat, you can use beef or lamb, or even a mixture İ prefer the half/half mixture of beef and lamb
  • 1 table spoon of olive oil (and more to fry the aubergines)
  • 2 onions
  • 4 green long peppers, not spicy (İ think they are called banana peppers), 2 cut is small rings and 2 cut into 2 halves lengthwise
  • 3 big tomatoes, 2 chopped up in small dice and 1 cut is 8 moon shaped slices
  • 1 table spoon of tomato paste
  • 2 cups of hot water
  • black pepper and salt to taste
  • chopped parsley



First peel 3 strips along the long side of the washed aubergine, that goes easiest with a sharp peeler. So you have a striped aubergine, 3 strips with peel and 3 strips peeled. Put a little salt on the peeled parts and let it rest for a while.


İn the meantime chop the onions in small pieces. Chop 2 tomatoes in small dices and thin rings of 2 of the peppers.

Fry the onion in one table spoon of oil until a bit soft. Add the minced meat, and make it crumbly with the back of the fork or spoon. Once just cooked, add the diced tomato and the bits of pepper and let it cook shortly more until the pepper is soft and there is not too much water from the tomato (so do not use a lid)

Wash the aubergines and dry them with a paper towel. Fry the aubergines in olive oil. Turn them around and be careful the oil is hot but not too hot. Be sure all sides are cooked well, and if the olive oil gets soaked in either add a bit more, but turning down the fire a bit also releases some of the soaked up oil. Test with a small pointed knife if the aubergine is soft, especially also at the 2 end bits. When cooked, take them out and put them on a paper towel and the soaked olive oil will be released.

Then place them in an oven dish, with a peeled side in the middle up and gently cut it open lengthwise about halfway in, be sure not to cut the aubergine from the bottom! Then fill it up with the minced meat mixture. You will use about half of the sauce that you have cooked.

Place on each aubergine 2 of the half tomato slices and one of the half peppers.

Whisk the tomato paste with the hot water, like tomato juice and pour that around the aubergines in the tray.

Place them in a 200°C preheated oven and let them cook until the pepper is soft. Be sure the oven dish does not get dry, if so add a little water.


Serve the aubergines with Turkish rice or Bulgur rice (recipes follow!) and you can add some more of the minced meat sauce around the aubergine to make it nice and rich, and at last sprinkle the freshly chopped parsley over the aubergine and sauce, voila!



Spinach with rice

There are lots of people not keen on spinach, so far İ have seen every spinach hater turning into a spinach lover!

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 large onion, copped very fine
  • 1 kilo wild spinach, chopped roughly
  • 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 cup white rice (baldo is my choice)
  • 1 table spoon tomato paste
  • 1/3 cup of milk (or if you are not on a diet 1/3 cup of cream which makes even more smooth)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • red pepper flakes (if desired)

Heat the oil in a large pan. Fry the onion until soft, be careful not to burn the onion. Add garlic and stir in well. Add the spinach (the water on the spinach is enough for this dish) and the rice and let it cook on low heat until the rice is soft, keep stirring well because the spinach on the bottom will shrink quickly as it cooks and it should be all cooked gradually. İt takes about 20 minutes.

Then add the tomato paste, salt, pepper and the milk (or cream) and stir in well. Turn of the heat when all is smooth and soft and not too running.

Serve with red pepper flakes.


* İf you like this dish more Turkish then you cook everything as above, but skip the garlic while cooking. And replace the milk with yogurt.

Crush the garlic and mix that with 1 cup of yogurt.

Do not cook the yogurt mixture with the spinach together but serve the spinach either hot or cold and top it with the yogurt garlic mixture.