You know how, even when everything in your life seems so terrible and stressful and just awful in every way, a table full of awesome food can make it better?
Or maybe that’s just me…
As hubby and I continue to stress as we do, our world stopped for the half our it took to eat this meal (as seen on my insta a few days ago, over there on the right hand side) . I would have to say fried eggplant based dishes are my soul food. I was literally jumping for joy as I made it with Anne (another moment when being a part time maid pays off). Just looking at the heaping piles of meat filling the velvety eggplant made me stop and thank God for the things that we do have, even when it doesn’t always seem like much. We are so blessed with bereket, though a lot of the time we are looking for it in another form.
Anyway, I hope this recipe warms your heart as much as it did ours.
So without further ado
*And let me clarify by tbsp I literally mean a table spoon/çorba kaşığı… And tsp is a literal tea spoon/çay kaşığı
Karnıyarık (for 4)
250g ground beef
8 Japanese (long skinny) eggplants
1 onion, diced (finely is preferred)
4 banana peppers, 2 diced and 2 stripped (those long pale green peppers everyone buys here look like banana peppers to me).
3 tomatos, 1 diced with juice reserved and 2 cut in slices
4 tbsp mixed salça (pepper and tomato)
6 tbsp tomato konserve (watery tomato sauce)
Approx 4 cups hot water
3 tsp salt plus more for rubbing and
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp black pepper
1 tbsp dried mint
8 garlic cloves, sliced
1 bunch parsley, chopped
1 bunch dill, chopped
3 green onions, chopped
1-2 tbsp olive oil for sauce
Sunflower oil for frying
1. Peel stripes into the eggplants, cutting down the middle at half depth on one bare stripe (I usually put 3 stripes per eggplant). Within that cut, score the fleshy sides (2 cuts) of the eggplant (this increases cooking speed while preserving the structural integrity of the eggplant). Soak in salty water for 20 to 30 mins as needed.
2. Meanwhile, dice onion and 2 peppers, placing them in a bowl.
3. Chop dill and parsley, placing in a separate bowl.
4. Chop green onion, placing in a third separate bowl. You now probably have no bowls haha.
5. Once the time has elapsed, remove eggplants from water and squeeze them to wring out any excess. Taking pinches of salt, rub the exposed flesh and inside of the eggplant with salt. Shallow fry (half an inch of oil standing in the pan) the eggplants, turning them as needed. They should be completely cooked at this stage nice and soft.
6. Carefully remove eggplants once cooked from the pan and place in a baking dish, sliced side up. Open the sliced part with a spoon and gently press it so it stays open but doesn’t tear. Crowded is good. Put the slices of one garlic clove evenly into each eggplant
7. With a small amount of oil that should be in the frying pan, cook the ground beef until light brown. Add the onion and peppers, allowing to cook until soft.
8. Add 3 tbsp of salça and cook into the mixture until smooth. Add the diced tomato and 4 tbsp konserve. The mixture should still be thick.
9. Add green onion, salt, and spices. Cook until the juices simmer.
10. Turn off the stove and add the parsley and dill. Spoon the filling into the eggplant evenly. Fill it up! Fill it up!
11. Prepare a sauce in your now empty pan with the remaining 1 tbsp salça, 2 tbsp konserve, and olive oil. Cook until smooth, then add the hot water. The sauce should be very watery.
12. Pour sauce into the crevices of the baking dish so you do not disturb the filling. It should all spread out and saturate the eggplant. Place the sliced tomatoes and stripped peppers decoratively across the top.
13. Bake in the oven at the degree of delicious (250C) until sauce boils and reduces by about half (30 to 40 minutes). Let cool until you don’t hurt yourself.
Serve with literally anything because this is the best. We ate it with cacık and piyaz salatası (bean salad, recipe later because this was hard enough)
*Also want to add for our resident vegans/vegetarians I’ve made this successfully with chopped mushrooms and extra tomato in lieu of meat.