The recipe for baked eggplant stuffed with minced meat is an excellent way to use this maybe not so common, but an amazing and healthy vegetable. This recipe is very popular in Turkey, where it is called Karniyarik (it translates to split belly). If you would like to try a stuffed eggplant recipe without meat, let me know in the comments.
Karniyarik or baked eggplant is usually made with minced beef, but you can also use minced lamb. Lamb goes also well with eggplant, maybe even better than beef. Furthermore, you could try also pork but Karniyarik as a part of Turkish cuisine is not consumed with pork for religious reasons.
How to choose the right eggplant
One of the most important factors in a recipe for baked eggplant is choosing the right eggplants. Try to avoid large pieces and look for smaller and longer eggplants. These should have fewer seeds and will take shorter to cook.
If you already have selected eggplants, you can decide between two ways to pre-cook them. You can fry them in a pan or bake them in the oven. But before that, it is necessary to prepare the eggplant. Cut the stems and peel the four strips equally spaced apart along each eggplant.
Salt them all generously and let them stand for about 20 minutes. Not only the eggplant softens nicely, but the salt also removes the mild bitterness. After that, dry each piece with a kitchen towel to remove excess liquid.
Pan or oven
You can bake the prepared eggplants in the oven or fry them in a pan (approx. 10 minutes). The more traditional way is frying them in a pan, but I prefer pre-baking in the oven. In fact, I don’t like seeing them floating in a pan full of oil.
Besides that, we will bake them later in the oven with our ready-made tasty filling as well. However, if you opt for the first version, do not forget to have kitchen paper ready, on which you place fried eggplants to absorb excess oil.
While your eggplants are baking, prepare the filling. When the filling is ready and the eggplants are pre-baked, cut them gently on one side. However, be careful not to cut them completely through. Season the inside with some salt and stuff them with the delicious filling.
Finally, you can decorate karniyarik with some peppers. Pour in tomato sauce and bake at 180˚C in the oven for about 35 minutes. Your fantastic stuffed baked eggplant is ready!Print