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Turkish Stuffed Eggplant (Karniyarik) – Splitting Bellies

“Karniyarik” means “split belly,” which refers to the technique used to stuff them, although depending on the size of your eggplant, it could also refer to you after enjoying this delicious dish. By the way, this was my first time making these, and when I mentioned in the video only doing 15 minutes of research before filming, I wasn’t joking. So, you’ve been warned.

Having said that, I thought these came out really well, and I would only tweak a couple minor things next time. I’d sprinkle the insides with salt before stuffing, since there wasn’t enough in my filling to season them to my taste. I’d also toss in some chopped parsley, which would have added a little freshness to the dish, although the dried rosemary did work nicely.

Lastly, I’d take the advice I got on Twitter, and serve them with a yogurt sauce, like our famous tzatziki. That would be an amazing condiment for these, since the cold, acidic sauce would be a perfect foil for the rich, aromatic, slightly sweet flavor profile. 

Since I’m fully admitting not knowing what I’m doing, I welcome any and all tips and tricks, but most of all, I really do hope you give these a try. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 4 Turkish Stuffed Eggplant (Karniyarik:
4 medium sized eggplant
olive oil as needed
1 yellow onion, diced
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/4 cup freshly chopped Italian parsley (I didn’t add, but you should)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 pound ground lamb or beef
1 1/2 cups diced sweet and/or hot peppers
1 ounce (about 1 cup unpacked) finely, freshly grated Pecorino cheese, or whatever you’re into
1 cup chicken broth

- Roast eggplant at 400 F. until just barely soft, stuff, and continue baking until very tender.
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