Almost Turkish Recipes

Stuffed Eggplants (Karnıyarık)

Another "certified Turkish" recipe from my mom: karnıyarık which literally translates as "split belly." Karnıyarık is widely made and dearly loved almost in every part of Turkey. But by going over the ingredients and cooking method, I believe it's from southeastern and eastern Mediterranean regions of Turkey. I must warn you; this is not a light dish, but it is absolutely fantastic and if you haven't had karnıyarık before, it will change your ideas on eggplant dishes. Enough said to advertise eggplant.

There are a couple things to be careful about when you're cooking with eggplants. Buy eggplants right before you cook and pick the firmer ones; eggplants tend to get soft in the refrigerator. And for this dish, do not use huge American eggplants. Try to find cute little ones or Asian eggplants.

2 lb eggplant, peeled in stripes lengthwise
1/2 lb ground meat
2 onions, cubed
1/2 bunch parsley, finely choppped
1 tomato, petite diced (for the stuffing)
1 tomato, sliced in half moons (for the top)

green banana peppers, as many as eggplants
ground pepper
2 tbs olive oil
frying oil
1 cup hot water

-Peel eggplants leaving lengthwise stripes and then put them in salty water for 10 minutes. Dry them well and fry them as a whole in a deep pot with canola or corn or vegetable oil, whichever you're comfortable with. (Make sure oil is really hot before you place eggplants, otherwise eggplants will soak tons of oil)
-Once they're fried, first soak the excessive oil by resting them on a paper towel, and then place eggplants on an oven dish.
-In a deep frying pan, heat olive oil. Add onions and stir for 3-4 minutes.
-Add ground meat. Cook until ground meat soaks all the juice it lets out.
-Add diced tomato. Stir until cooked. Turn it off.
-Add chopped parsley, salt, and pepper. Mix well.
-With the help of two spoons, slit eggplants into two. But leave the tops and bottoms attached.
-Stuff eggplants with ground meat mixture.
-Place a slice of half moon shaped tomato and a green pepper on top of each split belly eggplant.
-Pour 1 cup of hot water on top and bake them in preheated oven at 400F until green peppers are nicely baked.

Serve with rice and yogurt.

Another eggplant recipe with parsley for Weekend Herb Blogging which was founded by Kalyn and is hosted this week by Katie of Thyme for Cooking.


  1. What a pretty dish! Those banana peppers look so good - but I'm guessing they're hot! I may have to give mine to mon mari...
    Great eggplant dish!

  2. Lovely dish! Turkish food is always soooo delicious! I hope I can visit it one day and stuff myself as much as i can.

  3. Katiez, they look spicy but they're actually sweet.

    Anh, that's how I am when I go to Turkey: stuffed :)

  4. Another fantastic way to use eggplant. Your blog is the second place I read recently that said not to put eggplant in the refrigerator. I didn't know that! I'd love to go to Turkey and eat some of this!

  5. I am currently loving eggplant and this recipe looks great, but I am a little confused by the instructions - do you mean peel strips off the outside but not peel it completely?

  6. Hi Katerina, yes what I mean is peel them leaving lengthwise stripes.

  7. I still haven't made your stuffed peppers, and now I want to make these stuffed eggplant. They look fabulous! I agree with you about using the more petite ones as well.

  8. I made your stuffed peppers for my daughter and they were a hit!!! Now I need to make stuffed eggplant!!!

  9. Anonymous9:23 PM

    Can you prepare this in advance and then just reheat it? If yes, how do you do it?

  10. anonymous-yes, you can prepare it in advance and then just bake it. Prepare everything and stuff the eggplants. Place them in an oven safe dish. At this stage, you can refrigerate or even freeze them. When you need it, just bring it back to room temperature, put half moon shape tomato slices and green peppers on top, pour 1 cup hot water and bake.

  11. Anonymous5:56 AM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  12. Anonymous6:28 AM

    Just made your Karniyarik :) Looks fantastic. I'm sure it will tast amazingly. Thank you for the recipy. And thanks to my special one who inspirited me to cook it.

  13. Anonymous2:12 PM

    What purpose does deep frying it serve? I was hoping to bake them and cut out the frying to keep the dish a little more healthier. Please advise.....

  14. Eggplants are tricky to cook; they take long time and are not delicious with every kind of cooking. Frying definitely brings out the best out of them. You cannot stuff them with the stuffing and bake afterwards; it would take a long time and as a result the stuffing would be very dry. If you bake them first and then stuff and bake again, it will be drier than the traditional version and taste completely different, because although roasted eggplants are delicious they are usually smashed and mixed with sauces or other roasted veggies. But in a karniyarik you would be eating big chunks of roasted eggplant which may not be as pleasant.

  15. Anonymous3:55 PM

    It's one of my favourite Turkish dishes. When I first made it, I had no idea what the real Turkish one tastes like. I was told to cook the eggplants first instead of frying and bake them after stuffing, so I did and my Turkish husband loved it. Since then he prefers karniyarik prepared like that. I also put the inside part of the eggplants and some pepper into the stuffing which was also a success. I hope once I will taste it in Turkey too.

  16. Anonymous10:08 AM

    do you carve out the eggplants once you split them?

  17. @Anonymous: No, no need for that. Just push them to the sides.

  18. Anonymous11:29 AM

    how many servings does this recipe make?

    1. It depends on the size of the eggplants. If you will use small size Italian eggplants, 1 lb usually makes 7-8 eggplants and usually one person is served two of them.

  19. Definitely gonna try this!

  20. What is the measurement for the ground beef (1/2 cup, 1/2 pound)? Thank you for the clarification...I look forward to trying this recipe.

    1. HI LisaD, it should be pound. I corrected it. Thank you!

  21. Anonymous10:41 PM

    you should melt some tomato paste in hot water and add it. Not just water.