Ayten Okgu , 76 years old – Istanbul, Turkey
Ayten was born 76 years ago in Izmir, one of the most beautiful Turkish cities on the Mediterranean coast and she spent the early years of her life there. When she was about 10 she moved to Austria with her family, where she lived until her coming of age. At 20, while travelling in Turkey, she met the person who is now her husband and who brought her back to her original land after the marriage. She has been living in Istanbul since then, in the Asiatic part of the city, in a suburban and very quiet area. She has got two daughters and four grandchildren, two of whom are already 18. “Unfortunately, I can’t see my older grandchildren so often. They live in the opposite part of the city and it takes me almost two hours to get there to visit them. They never come to this part of the city, since all the forms of entertainment are to the north of the Bosphorus, in the European side”, she says, looking wretched.
Karniyarik (stuffed aubergines with meat and vegetables)
Time: a bit more than an hour
Ingredients for 3 people (considering two aubergines per person):
– 6 aubergines
– half kilo minced beef
– 4 tomatoes
– 2 sprigs of parsley
– 1 onion and 3 green sweet chillies
– salt, pepper, olive oil and sunflower oil
Karniyarik is a typical Turkish dish, not one of those you might find in a restaurant, but a common home cooking recipe.
First of all, clean the aubergines, peel them lengthwise making stripes of 2cm until only 50% of the total skin is left. Then, make a vertical cut in order to be able to open a bit and stuff them, but don’t cut them completely in two halves. Put some salt inside and outside. Now, in a large pan, fry them using sunflower oil for 5 minutes, turning them continuously.
Dice two tomatoes and slice the other two.
Chop the onions and chillies and sauté them together with some olive oil. When they brown, add the minced beef and some salt and pepper. When the meat is no longer red, add the diced tomatoes. Cook on a low heat, covering with a lid.
Wash the parsley in a bowl with water and vinegar (she says it makes the parsley smell better), then, shred it and, when the minced beef and vegetables are done, add it and stir. At this point, let the mixture get colder.
Using a spoon, create some space inside the open aubergines for the filling. Stuff them with the mixture of vegetables and beef.
Put the aubergines on a baking tin and top them with the sliced tomatoes and, if you like it, a sweet chilli. In the tin, pour some water and a spoon of diced tomatoes. Bake in the oven at 180° for about 35 minutes.
Now, the stuffed aubergines are ready to be tasted!