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Quick and easy Karniyarik

Karniyarik is a Turkishword meaning“split belly”. The eggplants are slit lengthwise to be stuffed, so the name split belly. It is a pleasant and pleasing dish that brings together baby eggplants, a meat stuffing and a thick tomato sauce. 

The dish is originally prepared with fried eggplants and is shared between Turkey, Iran and Aleppo. But I present here a healthy and easy to prepare dish by boiling the eggplants.  It is considered one of the finest eggplant dishes.


Ingredients:  4 servings

1000 g baby long eggplant (about 10 to 12 pieces)

1 teaspoon salt

For the stuffing

3 tablespoons olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter

1 medium onion (75 g), finely chopped

300 g coarsely ground mutton or beef

2 teaspoons seven spice powder

2 teaspoons allspice

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

3 tablespoons pine nuts

For Sauce: 

1 small can (400 g) peeled tomatoes with juice

1½ teaspoons dried mint

1 teaspoon sugar

¾ cup meat stock or water

2 teaspoons salt, or to desire

  1. Cut eggplant stem and cap. Peel lengthwise alternating 1 cm strips.  Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt and set aside in a strainer 30 minutes.
  2. Bring a pot with salted water and 2 teaspoons white vinegar to a boil.  Drop eggplant and simmer about 15 minutes or till almost tender.  Remove to a strainer and press to remove excess water.
  3. To prepare stuffing:  Stir-fry onion in oil and butter over medium heat till starting to color. Raise heat, mix in meat, spices, salt and fry till meat is cooked but not dry.  Mix in half the pine nuts.  Taste and adjust seasoning.
  4. To prepare sauce: Pulse sauce ingredients in a food processor.  Pour into a pot and bring to a boil.  Taste and adjust seasoning.  Pour into an ovenproof dish.
  5. To finish dish:  Make a lengthwise slit on the side of each eggplant and open gently with the fingers.  Place on top of the tomato sauce, open side up.
  6. Fill the eggplant openings with the meat stuffing and sprinkle the rest of the pine nuts on top.  Bake in a preheated 180 C° (350 F°) oven about 20 minutes.  Serve hot with rice on the side.


Finely chopped green and red bell pepper may be added to the tomato sauce. Finely chopped parsley may be added to the meat stuffing.

© 2005 Cooking Courses Marlene Matar