Slashed Eggplant (Karnıyarık)

Before the summer is completely over (I know it’s already over in some places), I wanted to publish one of my favorite eggplant recipes, the ‘Karnıyarık’ which literally means ‘Slit belly’. This Ottoman dish truly tastes delectable, not to mention its attractive looks.

The day I was shopping for eggplants, I did not find the regular long and thick eggplants that are usually used in Turkey for this dish at my grocery store, so I substituted with Chinese eggplants. The ideal eggplant is not the Chinese eggplant, but still works well. The short eggplants can also be used for this recipe; however I prefer the long eggplants.

6 long eggplants
1 cup olive oil
2-3 green long peppers (cut lengthwise)
2 tsp salt

For the Stuffing:

1 lb ground beef (96% lean)
3 ripe tomatoes (peeled and diced)
1 green long pepper (chopped)
½ onion (chopped finely)
2 cloves garlic (chopped finely)
¼ cup parsley (chopped finely)
1 tbsp olive oil
½ tbsp red pepper flakes
½ tsp ground black pepper
2 tsp salt

For the Sauce:

1½ cups water
1 tsp salt
1 tsp tomato paste

Peel eggplants in stripes as shown below without removing the stems.

Heat oil in a large frying pan and half fry the eggplants. The eggplants should be fried enough to be easily slashed, but not too mushy. Let the eggplants cool.

In the meantime, prepare the stuffing. Heat the 1 tbsp olive oil in a pan and place the ground beef. Cook the ground beef until it takes a brownish color. Add the onions and green peppers. Sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add the salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes. Stir. At the end, add the parsley and stir. The diced tomatoes can also be added inside the stuffing however this recipe will add it on top of the ground beef.

Let the stuffing cool. Slit each half-fried and already cooled eggplant from its belly lengthwise from the top, without detaching it. Salt the inside and the outside of the eggplants.

Stuff each slit eggplant with the ground beef stuffing.

Mix the diced tomatoes with the chopped garlic in a separate bowl. Place a couple spoonfuls on top of the ground beef.

Place a piece of green pepper on top and arrange in a deep baking pan.

Put the water in a bowl. Add the salt and tomato paste and stir vigorously until the tomato paste is dissolved. Pour over the eggplants in the baking pan.

Bake covered for about 50 minutes at 350 F . Enjoy with rice pilaf and salad.

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