Garni yarikh translates to “split belly,” and it is a popular Azeri recipe that is an open-belly stuffed eggplant dish with tender eggplants and a spicy filling simmered in a light saffron tomato sauce. If you grew up in an Azeri/Persian household or if you have Persian friends you must know by now that Persians love their eggplant (bademjan in Farsi) dishes, and that Persian cuisine has quite a few very tasty methods of preparing this low calorie and nutritious vegetable such as: Kashke Bademjan, Borani Bademjan, Dolmeh Bademjan, Kuku Bademjan, and let’s not forget the beloved Khoresh Bademjan.
Garni yarikh that is also called, bademjan shekam por, or stuffed aubergines is yet another eggplant recipe that I’m sharing with you today!
Garni yarikh is made with peeled eggplants that are baked or fried until tender enough to push the flesh aside and fill the belly with a delicious stuffing mixture that usually consists of ground meat, herbs, spices, garlic, and tomatoes. I prefer the baked method because this process uses considerably less oil and is healthier. The other stuffed eggplant dish is called Dolmeh Bademjan; the ingredients, taste and look of these two eggplant dishes are quite different. For one thing, Dolmeh Bademjan is made with large Western Globe eggplants and the unpeeled eggplant is hollowed out before stuffing it with cubed meat, yellow split peas, grains and spices.
I usually use the Italian eggplants for this recipe because they have the least amount of seeds and have a very tender texture. The eggplants are peeled, leaving the top cap intact (this is the traditional presentation of this dish which by the way keeps the tender eggplant from falling apart during the cooking process). A shallow slit is made in the belly of the eggplants leaving one inch from the top and bottom intact.
The eggplants are baked and cooled in the baking sheet. Next, the flesh is carefully pushed aside to make room for the stuffing. The meat is browned with chopped onions.
The ingredients are mixed and transferred to a medium bowl. The sauce is made in the same skillet and transferred to another small bowl.
Baked eggplants are stuffed and arranged in a single layer in the same skillet. Sauce is drizzled over and around the Garniyarikh (s), then covered and simmered until the sauce is reduced and eggplants are tender. Spoon the sauce over the eggplants several times during this cooking time.
Serve Garni yarikh (bademjan shekam por, or stuffed aubergines) warm with Sangak, Barbari (types of Persian bread), or pita bread with Salad Shirazi or Sabzi Khordan (fresh herbs) on the side.
Bake the eggplants for 30-35 minutes, then broil for 2 minutes
- 7 Italian eggplants
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 1 pound lean ground beef, lamb, or turkey
- ¾ cup finely chopped yellow onion
- 1 tsp Persian Meat Spice or your favorite curry powder blend
- ¾ tsp kosher salt
- ¼ freshly cracked black pepper
- 3 TBSP tomato paste
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- One large yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 3 TBSP vegetable oil for frying the onion
- 1 cup small-diced ripe tomatoes
- 1 Serrano pepper, deseeded and chopped small (wash your hands immediately with soap and water, these peppers are very hot)
- ½ cup small-diced red bell pepper
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
- FOR THE SAUCE
- 1 TBSP butter
- 2 TBSP tomato paste
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- Dash cayenne pepper
- ⅛ tsp ground saffron (optional)
- 1 cup boiling hot water
- Preheat the oven to 425 F, center rack
- Peel the eggplants but leave the top cap attached. Starting at 1-inch below the cap use a knife to make a shallow lengthwise slit in the belly of each eggplant that extends down to 1-inch from the bottom. Add the eggplants to a large bowl and drizzle 1 tsp of oil in the belly of each eggplant. Rub the rest of the oil over the eggplants.
- Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil, grease it lightly, and bake the eggplants in a single layer for 30-35 minutes or until easily pierced with a fork. Without changing the position of the rack change the oven temperature to broil setting, and broil the baked eggplants for 2 minutes to give them a nice golden brown color. Cool the eggplants in the baking sheet on a rack before removing them. Gently push the flesh inside the belly slits aside to make room for the stuffing. Set aside.
- Meanwhile heat the vegetable oil in a large nonstick 12-inch skillet and fry the sliced onion to golden brown. Transfer the fried onions to a bowl and set aside. You will use the same skillet for browning the meat.
- To make the stuffing: Mix the finely chopped onion and the ground beef. Add the meat spice, salt and pepper. Sauté in the large skillet over medium high until the meat is browned. Stir frequently.
- Add the tomato paste and sauté for another 2 minutes on medium high, stirring frequently. Remove the skillet from heat.
- Add the minced garlic, fried onions, diced red bell pepper, chopped Serrano pepper, diced tomatoes and the chopped fresh parsley to the skillet and stir to combine all the ingredients. Transfer the ingredients to a medium bowl.
- To make the sauce: In the same skillet melt 1 TBSP butter over medium heat. Add 2 TBSP tomato paste to the butter, stir and saute for 1-2 minutes or until the mixture starts to bubble.
- Add a pinch of cayenne, ⅛ tsp ground saffron and 1 cup boiling water to the skillet, stir to combine. Bring the sauce to a low boil and transfer it to a small bowl. Set aside.
- Stuff the belly of the baked eggplants with as much stuffing mix as it fits. Arrange the stuffed eggplants in a single layer in the same skillet.
- Pour the sauce on and around the eggplants. Bring it to a slow boil, then reduce the heat to low and cook covered for 45 minutes, until the eggplants are very tender.
- Serve the Garniyarikh warm with Sangak, Barbari or pita bread and a side of Salad Shirazi or Sabzi Khordan (fresh herbs).
Fae's Twist & Tango says
What an elegant dish. As you know, I have a paternal Azerbaijani background. But, it is from you that I am learning the cultural cuisine of the area. Thank you, for this delicious information.
It is my pleasure Fae, I’m so glad you are interested in learning about the Azeri/Persian cuisine. Yes I do remember you telling me about your Azeri background, I hope you try this recipe and enjoy it.
How long should i bake the eggplants for before stuffing them with the meat? I hate frying eggplants because they produce too much oil. I want to bake them before stuffing. How long should i bake for before stuffing and after stuffing?
Hi TIna, I feel the same way about frying eggplants! I have a post for baking eggplants: https://persianmama.com/baked-eggplant/.
Please refer to step #3 of the printable recipe at the end of this Garniyarikh post, for the instructions of baking whole eggplants. The eggplants are baked for 30-35 minutes until easily pierced with a fork, then broiled for 2 minutes to give them a nice golden brown color. After stuffing, the eggplants are simmered in a sauce on the stove top for 45 minutes. I have never baked this dish (after stuffing the eggplants) in the oven and don’t know how long it will take, just make sure the eggplants are very tender before serving the meal.
This was the second recipes that I tried….another one that everyone enjoyed.
I have to give you credit in the detailed manner you guide us into making food. The pictures are a huge help too.
This one turned out to be another excellent one……it actually looked like yours too.
I made a little faupax in usng the lightly brown sliced onions when cooking mincemeat for stuffing ….instead of chopped onion. Added fried onions once again in the end too.
I increased the green chillies and the red chillies. Made the meat spice by grinding the ingredients myself and putting them according to what felt right based on your given proportions.
Thanks once again for another great dish.
Will have to look for what to make next 🙂
There are so many tempting ones.
Hello Remo, great to hear about another kitchen success story! I love the idea of more heat in this dish. I would really like for you to share pictures on my FB page when you try any of the recipes. I’m very glad to hear that you find the instructions and pictures helpful! Thanks for writing to me and please do keep in touch. Have a great weekend!
This. Was. Fabulous! This was my first foray into Persian cooking, which I’ve been planning on attempting, and ultimately immersing myself in at some point. Let me tell you, it did not disappoint! A very impressive dish, with such intricate and detailed flavors, feeling both comforting, and light at the same time – wow, just wow! The family loved it too! Definitely doing more recipes on your wonderful site. Thank you for preserving your beautiful culture and cuisine, and making it available to all.
Being based in the Provo/Orem area, it’s a bit of a drive to any Middle Eastern market, so I had to make do with some larger ones, which just meant a bigger meal! Very cool to see you also living in Utah! Not too many bloggers here, and definitely not a place you think at first to have such diversity!
I very much look forward to the next dish that I get to make from your wonderful site.
Preston thank you for the lovely comment. I’m very happy to hear that you and your family have enjoyed this authentic Azeri recipe as much as we do. There is a well equipped Persian store in SLC: Black Cherry Market (801-904-3989) on 4346 South 900 East. Occasionally some Costco stores also carry Italian eggplants. Please keep in touch and let me know when you try my other recipes.