Everything Turkish | Best Turkish eggplant recipes: Karniyarik
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Best Turkish eggplant recipes: Karniyarik

Best Turkish eggplant recipes: Karniyarik

The Eggplant, also known as the Aubergine, was first domesticated in Pakistan-India region over 4000 years ago. The Eggplant’s true species name “Melongena” is an ancient name for Eggplant in Sanskrit. From the sub-continent, the Eggplant spread towards West into the Middle East, as far west as Egypt and northward into Turkey. Turkish records of Eggplant exist from the 9th century and Eggplant are an important part of Turkish cuisine.

The Turks have over 1000 native recipes calling for the use of Eggplant in varying ways and yet, they would all taste unique. Turks bake, grill, sautee or fry eggplant with olive oil. Eggplant is used in salads, in dips, as a side dish, or as the main dish in Turkish cuisine.

In the 4th through 7th centuries A.D., with the Muslim conquest of Spain by the Umayya Empire (Moors or Andulus), eggplants were introduced to Spain and then this beautiful vegetable soon spread throughout Europe. The 16th century Spaniards had great respect for the Eggplant and believed its fruit to be a powerful aphrodisiac, hence they referred to them as “Berengenas” or the “Apple of Love”. The Italians too, held the Eggplant in very regard and called them “Melanzana”.

One of many humorously-named Turkish dishes, “Karniyarık” which literally means “a split tummy” in Turkish, is a main course with eggplant usually served with rice rice. For this particular dish, eggplants are first fried in very hot oil and then baked in the oven. It is believed that the eggplants taste much better if you fry them first.

Karniyarik recipe

Main ingredients

  • 4 small eggplants
  • 1/2 cup sunflower oil
  • 3/4 cup hot water with 1 table spoon crushed tomato

Filling

  • 150 gr medium ground beef
  • 1 medium sized onion, sliced
  • 1 tomato, slice one half into 4 thin pieces, dice the rest
  • 1 small capsicum, slice one half into 4 thin pieces, chop the rest
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • some salt
  • some pepper/paprika
  • 1 table spoon crushed tomato
  • 3/4 cup hot water

Step by step

Make the eggplants look like they’re wearing PJs by peeling alternating strips of skin lengthwise for each eggplant. Sprinkle some salt on top and put aside for about 20 minutes.

Squeeze, wash and dry them with a paper towel.

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and fry every side until nicely coloured. Cut a slit in each eggplant and scoop out most of the seeds, making sure they don’t fall apart. Place them in a clean pan.

At the same time cook all the filling ingredients in a small pot on medium heat. All the water should evaporate. Stir constantly until the end.

Fill the eggplants equally with the filling using a teaspoon.

Place the sliced tomato and green pepper on each eggplant.

Pour 3/4 cup of hot water cook the eggplants until tomatoes become tender.

Done ! Afiyet olsun!

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