Karnıyarık is a popular Turkish dish based on fried eggplant and ground meat.
What is karnıyarık?
The stuffed eggplant dish known as karniyarik is very popular in Turkey and the Anatolian region. It is served almost in all restaurants in Turkey.
Etymologically, karniyarik literally means “riven belly”. Turks particularly like eggplant, which is a key ingredient for many of the country’s traditional recipes.
Served for dinner, karniyarik is generally considered the main dish. It is nourishing and generous. Turks consume it hot and traditionally accompany it with rice.
It is possible to prepare the karniyarik one day in advance and freeze it. Indeed, this dish freezes very well. In addition, its taste is not altered after thawing and reheating. Another alternative is to prepare the karniyarik several hours in advance and reheat it just before serving.
How to make karnıyarık
To make a good karniyarik, two basic steps must be followed:
First, care should be taken to soak the eggplant in salt water for half an hour. In the past, eggplants were disgorged because they were very bitter (especially large eggplants). Today, the real reason for taking this step is more for healthy benefits. In fact, removing the water from the vegetable means that it absorbs less oil when cooked.
Second, fry the aubergines in hot oil before baking them to tenderize them. The dish will only get better.
What is the origin of karnıyarık?
The origins of Turkish stuffed aubergines known as karnıyarık date back over 4000 years. It was also around this time that the eggplant was first domesticated in the region which today includes parts of Pakistan and India.
Indeed, some ancient historical sources dating from this period mention aubergines: the melongena eggplant species appears in Sanskrit (the ancient liturgical language used by the religious of South Asia) in an ancient text dating back more than 4000 years.
Imam bayıldı, the vegetarian version of karnıyarık
In Turkey, there is a dish similar to karnıyarık. This dish is vegetarian and does not include meat. It is called imam bayıldı, which means “the imam fainted”. It is eaten cold with yogurt.
According to some legends, the name ımam bayıldı is derived from a story about a Turkish imam who passed out from pleasure while tasting the eggplant dish that his wife had prepared for him. Also, other more humorous accounts mention that the latter would have passed out when he learned the cost of the ingredients or the amount of oil used to prepare this dish.
Eggplant-based variants around the world
Moussaka is a dish made from eggplant or potato, often including ground meat and tomatoes, from Levantine and Greek cuisines, also popular throughout the Middle East and the Balkans. There are many local and regional variations.
Caponata is an eggplant dish from Sicily. It is a salad of cooked vegetables made from fried and chopped eggplant, seasoned celery, sweet vinegar and capers.
This traditional dish from the region consists of eggplant, onions, potatoes, tomatoes, red peppers, parsley and spices.
Kyopolou is a must-have relish in Bulgaria and Turkey. It is mainly prepared from grilled eggplant and garlic.
Karnıyarık, which means "riven belly" in Turkish, is a dish of eggplant stuffed with a mixture of ground meat, onion, garlic, tomato and pepper, the vegetarian version of which is imam bayıldı.
- 6 eggplants
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 large tomato , peeled, seeded and diced
- 1 large onion , diced
- 1 red bell pepper , diced
- 1 green bell pepper , diced
- 2 tablespoons tomato coulis
- ½ bunch flat parsley , finely chopped
- 5 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup sunflower oil
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons tomato purée
- ½ cup water
- 6 small green bell peppers
- 3 small firm tomatoes
- Peel the aubergines lengthwise alternatively and keep the stem.
- Immerse the eggplants in a large amount of salt water for 30 minutes.
- Remove the eggplants from their soaking water and wipe them completely with a thick cloth. Using a fork, prick them all over their surface.
- Heat the sunflower oil in a pan and fry the eggplant for 5 minutes on each side.
- Place them on paper towels.
- In a pan, add the olive oil and sweat the onion for 5 minutes over medium heat.
- Then add the diced red and green peppers.
- Once the peppers start to melt, add the ground meat and cook while stirring constantly. The meat will release its juice and then reabsorb it.
- Add the tomato and tomato coulis and mix well.
- Cook for 5 minutes and mix regularly.
- Season with salt and pepper, and mix.
- Remove from the heat and add the parsley.
- Reserve the stuffing.
- In a small saucepan, add the olive oil and fry the tomato purée.
- Add the water and mix well.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Preheat the oven to 350 F (180°C).
- In a baking dish, arrange the eggplants close to each other, but spacing them apart.
- Make a cut along the entire length of the eggplant.
- Using the back of a tablespoon, lightly crush the inside of the eggplant, which will create a hollow to place the stuffing.
- Place the stuffing in the center of each eggplant.
- Place the small green peppers and 1 or 2 tomato slices on each eggplant.
- Pour the sauce over each eggplant and all over the dish.
- Bake at 350 F (180°C) for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Serve with rice.