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Karniyarik is a classic Turkish dish and a national favorite. Eggplants stuffed with meat, vegetables and spices make Karniyarik a treat you will not soon forget and want to revisit often.


(Photo Attributed to Author: Alpha)

Karniyarik Recipe-


(makes 4 servings)

  • 4 
small eggplants (about 5 or 6 oz. each)
  • canola oil, for frying
  • 2 tbsp 
olive oil
  • 2 
garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1
 large onion, diced
  • 1/2 lb. ground lamb meat
  • 2 
roma tomatoes, 1 sliced thin, 1 grated
  • 1 tbsp
. tomato paste
  • freshly ground sea salt and black peppercorns, to taste
  • 1 tbsp. granulated 
white cane sugar
  • 2 tbsp. chopped green chili peppers
  • ½ cup
 boiling water
  • red chili sauce, for garnish
  • Turkish yogurt sauce, for garnish
  • flat-leaf parsley, rough chopped, for garnish
  1. Slice 4 wide strips off of each eggplant, one on each of the four sides. Place the eggplants in a large bowl of salted water, and weight them down with an inverted plate to keep them submerged. Set set aside for about a half an hour – this will remove the natural bitterness. Then drain them and pat them dry with paper towels.
  2. In a large deep skillet over medium-high flame, add in canola oil to a depth of 2 inches. Fry the eggplants, turning occasionally, until nicely browned and tender nearly all the way through. Immediately transfer to a platter lined with paper towels to drain. When well drained, place the eggplants in a baking dish large enough to hold all four, and set aside for now.
  3. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190°C).
  4. Using another skillet or saucepan over medium heat, place 1 tbsp. of the olive oil. Add in the garlic and cook, stirring, until the garlic is slightly browned – about 1 to 2 minutes should do it. Then add in the onions and fry until softened, translucent and fragrant – 4 to 5 minutes.
  5. In another large skillet over high heat, place the remaining olive oil with the lamb. Break the lamb up into tiny bits of meat with your hands as you add it into the skillet. Cook the meat, stirring and breaking it apart even more, until nicely browned all over.
  6. Now add the chopped green chilis, grated tomato and onion mixture into the skillet with the lamb. Add 2 tsp. tomato paste, adjust the seasoning to taste, and cook until all the water has evaporated.
  7. Using a large sharp knife, split the eggplant length-ways halfway through, but leave the tops and bottoms attached. Use wooden kitchen spoons to open up and widen the split to make a “nest” for the filling. Sprinkle 1 tsp. sugar evenly into each of the eggplant openings, and then stuff them with the ground lamb mixture.
  8. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the boiling water and the rest of the tomato paste. Spoon a little over each of the eggplants to moisten them, and then pour the rest around the eggplants in the baking dish.
  9. Bake for 30–40 minutes, until the liquid in the pan has reduced to a syrupy juice.
  10. Place each baked stuffed eggplant on a serving plate. Quickly whip together the baking syrupy juice with red chili sauce, using enough sauce to make the mixture nice and red and spicy.
  11. Serve your Karniyarik while nice and hot. Garnish with Turkish yogurt sauce drizzled over each serving, some red chili sauce mixture on the side of each eggplant, and topped with freshly chopped flat leaf parsley.

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