‘Chicken Stuffed Eggplant’ in Turkish ‘Tavuklu Karnıyarık’, is one of the classic dishes in Ottoman cuisine. In general, the eggplants have an important role at both Ottoman and Turkish cuisine. We like to prepare main dishes and mezes with the eggplants. ‘Chicken Stuffed Eggplant’ is one of the dishes that we love to eat in the summer time when the eggplant production is at peak level.
If you are going to make ‘Chicken Stuffed Eggplant’ dish, you need to choose the shiniest color eggplants at the grocery store. Matte color eggplants are the ones which are not fresh. Eggplants are widely considered that they have some bitter taste; however, some types such as ‘Black Nadia’ eggplants tend to be less bitter than the most types. So I recommend you to use ‘Black Nadia’ eggplants at your ‘Chicken Stuffed Eggplant’ dish.
The Story of Chicken Stuffed Eggplant
Eggplant vegetable is native to the south eastern part of Turkey but I haven’t found any written historical record about when and how does it involve into the Ottoman cuisine yet. During one of my business trips to Konya city, I have heard that this delicious dish has been first found in Seljuk Empire period. As you know, Konya city was the capital city of Seljuk Empire.
Even if we don’t have any written historical record about this delicious dish, I am glad to know that this dish has been cooking in our cuisine since the great Seljuk Empire period.
Where to eat Chicken Stuffed Eggplant?
Most of the restaurants in Turkey cook Stuffed Eggplant with ground beef; however, there are few restaurants exist to cook this dish with chicken meat. For some reason, if you ever visit Konya city, I recommend you to stop by at ‘Kos Lezzet Sofrasi’ restaurant to eat Chicken Stuffed Eggplant.
Chicken Stuffed Eggplant
- 4 'Black Nadia' type Eggplants
- 200 gr Chicken Breast small cubed
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 cloves garlic thinly chopped
- 1 Onion diced
- 2 tomatoes chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup hot water
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 50 gr cheddar cheese grated
Pre-heat the oven to 180°C (350°F).
Slice the eggplants into half by lengthwise. Fill a large bowl with water and add 2 teaspoons of salt in it, then add the sliced eggplants. Put a plate on the eggplants to keep them submerged in the bowl; soak for 30 minutes during preparing the filling.
Put the olive oil to the saucepan and then add the small cubed cut chicken breast meat. Saute them at medium heat about 5 minutes until the pink color is gone and then add diced onions, garlic and continue to saute all about 5 minutes until onions get softy.
Add the chopped tomatoes, garlic, salt, tomato paste and pepper. Simmer them until the tomatoes are softened, about 5 minutes and then set aside.
Mix the hot water and tomato paste in a bowl and set aside.
Remove the eggplants from the bowl and rinse them well. Put 2 tablespoons of olive oil into a large skillet and bring the heat to the medium level and then place the eggplants to the skillet. Cook them until their color turn to brownish, about 5 minutes, then set on paper towels to drain the oil.
Place eggplants into the ovenproof glass pan. By using a spoon; create a large pocket in the ‘belly’ part of the each eggplant. Stuff each eggplant ‘belly’, with the small cubed chicken breast mixture. Then add the grated cheddar cheese on top.
Pour the warm water and tomato paste mixture over the eggplants.
Bake it in the oven for 15 minutes until the cheddar cheese melted and then cover it with aluminium foil and then bake for another 5 minutes.
Tip: Serve with your favorite side dish. My favorite side dish is Pilaf.