Karnıyarık is a legacy of the Ottoman Palace kitchens and yet another of the imperial demands for creativity when it comes the much loved aubergine. You will find this particular dish in almost every restaurant you visit in Turkey!

Karnıyarık literally translates as “split belly” – this is because the aubergines are cut in half (length ways) before being stuffed.

If you love aubergine and like to get creative, this Turkish homestyle recipe is for you!  Whilst you can stuff your aubergine with just about anything, Karnıyarık is typically prepared using ground beef or lamb. Here is a recipe for you to try at home.


4 aubergines
2 cups vegetable oil for frying
4 tablespoons olive oil
3 onions
7 tomatoes
3 green peppers
1.5 pounds / 800 grams ground beef
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 cup chopped
Parsley leaves

Stuffed Aubergines

How to Make It:

  • Begin by preparing the aubergine. Using a sharp knife, peel alternate strips from from end to end leaving a striped pattern. Let the aubergines soak in salted water while you prepare the other ingredients.
  • Put the olive oil in a large pan and fry the onions until they are tender and reduced. Add the ground beef or lamb and brown it thoroughly.
  • Peel five of the tomatoes and dice them into cubes. Once the meat is browned, add the cubed tomato and continue stirring. You can also substitute fresh tomatoes with canned, diced tomatoes. Drain off the juice before adding them to the meat.
  • Add spices and garlic and stir well. Then add the chopped parsley and give it another good stir before turning off the heat and letting it rest.
  • Drain the aubergines and blot them dry. In another pan, heat some vegetable oil and fry the aubergines whole, turning them to cook evenly on all sides. When the aubergines have soften, remove them from the oil and drain them on paper towels. Alternatively, you can bake them in the oven at 200° C for about 30 minutes.
  • Line up the fried aubergines in an oven-proof baking dish and slit them from end to end. Spoon out the middle to create a boat shape in each.
  • Fill the centre of with the meat mixture. Slice two tomatoes thinly and place the slices over the filling. Do the same with the peppers.
  • Combine the water with the tomato paste and pour it into the baking dish. Cook the aubergine in the oven 200° C for about 30 minutes.
  • When done, remove the dish from the oven and let it rest for a few minutes before serving with some cacık on the side.

Afiyet Olsun!

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