Another “certified Turkish” recipe from my mom: karnıyarık which literally translates as “split belly.” Karnıyarık is widely made and dearly loved almost in every part of Turkey. But by going over the ingredients and cooking method, I believe it’s from southeastern and eastern Mediterranean regions of Turkey. I must warn you; this is not a light dish, but it is absolutely fantastic and if you haven’t had karnıyarık before, it will change your ideas on eggplant dishes. Enough said to advertise eggplant.
There are a couple things to be careful about when you’re cooking with eggplants. Buy eggplants right before you cook and pick the firmer ones; eggplants tend to get soft in the refrigerator. And for this dish, do not use huge American eggplants. Try to find cute little ones or Asian eggplants.
2 lb eggplant, peeled in stripes lengthwise
1/2 lb ground meat
2 onions, cubed
1/2 bunch parsley, finely choppped
1 tomato, petite diced (for the stuffing)
1 tomato, sliced in half moons (for the top)
green banana peppers, as many as eggplants
2 tbs olive oil
1 cup hot water
-Peel eggplants leaving lengthwise stripes and then put them in salty water for 10 minutes. Dry them well and fry them as a whole in a deep pot with canola or corn or vegetable oil, whichever you’re comfortable with. (Make sure oil is really hot before you place eggplants, otherwise eggplants will soak tons of oil)
-Once they’re fried, first soak the excessive oil by resting them on a paper towel, and then place eggplants on an panggangan dish.
-In a deep frying pan, heat olive oil. Add onions and stir for 3-4 minutes.
-Add ground meat. Cook until ground meat soaks all the juice it lets out.
-Add diced tomato. Stir until cooked. Turn it off.
-Add chopped parsley, salt, and pepper. Mix well.
-With the help of two spoons, slit eggplants into two. But leave the tops and bottoms attached.
-Stuff eggplants with ground meat mixture.
-Place a slice of half moon shaped tomato and a green pepper on top of each split belly eggplant.
-Pour 1 cup of hot water on top and bake them in preheated panggangan at 400F until green peppers are nicely baked.
Serve with rice and yogurt.