Sabrina Ghayour stuffed aubergines with lamb, garlic & tomatoes Karniyarik recipe

Stuffed Aubergines with Lamb, Garlic & Tomatoes Karniyarik

Stuffed Aubergines with Lamb, Garlic & Tomatoes Karniyarik - Credit: Kris Kirkham

Aubergines are the meat of the Middle East and for a girl like me, they are a common vegetable in our kitchen but for once, they are actually in season and there are now some rather fantastic British aubergines being grown so whilst we still have them, my recipe for stuffed aubergines with lamb, garlic and tomatoes is my recipe for this month. It is so deliciously satisfying and very simple despite looking rather magnificent.

A dish befitting an Ottoman Emperor perhaps, a hint as to the Turkish origins of this dish, called ‘Karniyarik’. I think this might just be a real winner amongst you, the perfect dish to herald the end of summer.


Stuffed Aubergines with Lamb, Garlic & Tomatoes Karniyarik

This Turkish dish is known as karniyarik, literally meaning ‘bellystuffed’, which is exactly what it is – halved aubergines stuffed with minced meat, garlic and tomatoes. I serve an aubergine half to each of my diners at my Turkish supper clubs and they love it …
it’s a rather magnificent serving, full of flavours that everyone enjoys. While it is similar to the more famous stuffed-aubergine recipe known as imam biyaldi, this version contains meat, which,of course, means that I like it just that little bit more.

vegetable oil
3 large aubergines, halved lengthways without removing the stalks
4 fat garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 large onions, roughly diced
500g (1lb 2oz) minced lamb
4 large tomatoes, chopped into 2.5cm (1in) dice
1 x 20g packet of flat leaf parsley, leaves picked and finely chopped
sea salt flakes and freshly ground
black pepper
3 Turkish long, pale green peppers or 1 large green pepper, cored, deseeded
and cut into 4mm- (.in-) thick strips

Preheat a large frying pan over a medium heat and add a generous amount of vegetable oil. Fry the aubergines, cut-side down, for 8–10 minutes (ensuring they don’t blacken), then turn them over and fry them for a further 8 or so minutes. Once cooked, place them on a plate lined with kitchen paper to absorb some of the excess oil.

Increase the heat a little and fry the onions. Once soft and translucent, add the garlic and fry until golden. Add the lamb and cook, stirring, to keep the ingredients moving and prevent the meat from stewing.

Once the meat has browned, add 3 of the 4 diced tomatoes, the parsley and a
generous seasoning of sea salt flakes and black pepper, give the mixture a good final stir, then take the pan off the heat.

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Preheat the oven to 180ÆC/fan 160ÆC/gas mark 4. Choose an ovenproof dish that can hold all the aubergine halves.

Using a knife and a spoon, slash the cut side of the fried aubergines without cutting all the way through to the bottom – leave about 1cm around the edges. Use the spoon to press down and create a cavity in the centre of each aubergine half.

Divide the stuffing mixture between the aubergine halves. Don’t be afraid to pile it high and pat the mixture down with the spoon. Top each one with the
remaining diced tomato and the pepper strips and place in the ovenproof dish. Scatter a little cold water over each aubergine to keep it moist in the oven, then bake for 20–25 minutes, or until the pepper is slightly blackened
around the edges.

Serve immediately.

Taken from Persiana by Sabrina Ghayour, £25, published by Mitchell Beazley

READ MORE: Lamb recipes by Sabrina Ghayour