We greatly enjoy this delicious southern Turkish style Baked Aubergine Kebab with Meatballs – Firinda Patlican Kebabi, especially popular in Gaziantep region in Turkey. We adore aubergine / eggplant/patlican in Turkey; one can safely say, it is our national vegetable, with over 200 recipes featuring aubergine in Turkish cuisine. Its meaty, melt in the mouth texture and naturally sweet flesh is simply fantastic here, cooked with meatballs, tomatoes and peppers. Please use long and slim variety of the purple aubergines, eggplants for this kebab.
I love the ease of this all in one bake dish. Please make sure to sprinkle salt over the aubergine slices and squeeze out their excess moisture with a paper towel. Then simply coat olive oil and seasoning over the aubergine slices. There is no need to sauté or fry the aubergine slices and the meatballs before baking. They bake all together very well, infusing their flavour to one another. You can prep this dish ahead of time and freeze leftovers successfully.
The meatballs in this recipe is based on my Turkish baked meatballs with vegetables, Firinda Sebzeli Kofte recipe, from my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table, another version of this delicious all in one bake.
Signed hardback copies of Ozlem’s Turkish Table are available at this link; I am delighted to share that there is now significantly reduced shipping rates of hardback Ozlem’s Turkish Table to the USA via GB Publishing, at this link too.
You can serve this dish with plain pilaf rice and cooling Cacik dip of cucumber and yoghurt aside.
- For the kofte (meatballs):
- 450g/1lb minced/ground lamb, beef or mixture
- 1 medium onion, grated
- 60g/2oz stale bread, soaked in water and squeezed dry
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 small bunch finely chopped flat leaf parsley
- 5ml/1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 5ml/1 teaspoon Turkish pul biber or red pepper flakes
- 5ml/1 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Small bowl of water for kneading kofte and getting your hands wet
- And the rest:
- 2 medium and long (or 3, if smaller) aubergines / eggplants
- 1 green bell pepper, deseeded and sliced in chunky wedges
- 2 medium tomatoes, thinly sliced
- 45ml / 3tbsp olive oil (to coat the aubergine slices)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- For the sauce:
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed and finely chopped
- 30ml/2tbsp double concentrated tomato paste
- 30ml/2tbsp olive oil
- 200ml/7fl oz warm water
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 200C/400F
- First prepare your meatball mixture. Discard the crusts of the bread, soak in the water and squeeze dry. Then crumble them into a large bowl. Add all the kofte, meatballs ingredients except the ground/minced meat and knead well. This will soften the onions and enable the spices to blend in the mixture evenly. Add the minced/ground meat and knead well again until the mixture resembles a soft dough. Cover with cling film and keep in the fridge until ready to use.
- Slice the aubergines/eggplants into about 1.5cm / 0.6in circles and spread over a large tray. Sprinkle some salt over them and leave for about 10 minutes. Gently squeeze out their excess moisture with paper towel. Place them back on a clean large tray.
- Drizzle 45ml / 3tbsp olive oil over the aubergine/eggplant slices. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Using your hands, gently rub the olive oil and seasoning over the aubergine/eggplant slices.
- Now, shape your meatballs. Have a bowl of cold water near you. With damp hands, take a piece the size of a large walnut and roll into a round meatball, as large as your aubergine/eggplant slices, and slightly flatten. Place them on large dish or a tray side by side.
- Have a round baking dish with 25cm/10in diameter near you (a 25cmx25cm square baking dish would work well too). Place a slice of aubergine upright and place a meatball alongside. Repeating this, place all the aubergine slices and meatballs side by side, quite tightly, so they can stay upright.
- Gently tuck in the coarsely sliced bell peppers around the aubergine slices and meatballs. Place the tomato slices around the middle part of your round baking dish, in between aubergine and meatball layers, or if you are using a square baking dish, in between layers.
- For the sauce; combine the finely chopped garlic, 200ml/7fl oz warm water, 2tbsp tomato paste and 2tbsp olive oil in a bowl. Season with salt and ground black pepper and combine well.
- Pour the sauce over the prepared aubergine, meatballs and vegetables. Cover with aluminum foil and bake in the preheated oven for about 40-45 minutes.
- Then take the cover off, gently spoon the sauce in the baking dish over the aubergine and meatballs and bake further 20 – 25 minutes, until the meatballs and vegetables cooked and slightly charred.
- Drizzle the sauce from the baking the dish over the aubergine and meatballs again. Serve with plain pilaf rice and cooling Cacik dip of cucumber and yoghurt aside.
This is a fantastic recipe and will definitely go into regular rotation at my house. Thank you for this English presentation of an amazing dish, Firinda Patlican Kebabi (all the others were in Turkish)! I cannot even pronounce it properly. It is a rich and satisfying meal with a little rice and yogurt sauce. The flavors come together nicely after baking/ roasting. Looking forward to making it again 🙂
We made this tonight, Friday night. Covid19 is still raging. I love the simplicity of the ingredients. It is my first Turkish dish. Thank you!!
Thank you so much for your kind note – really delighted you enjoyed Patlican Kebabi : ) I love the ease of it too, Afiyet Olsun,
Thank you for the recipe the family loved it was mouth watering XXX
Thank you so much for your kind note – really delighted to hear you enjoyed my Baked aubergine and meatball kebab recipe – Afiyet olsun, Ozlem xx
I have just come across your website and all your beautiful recipes. I have some aubergines in my garden to use so I hope to be making your Firinda Patlican Kebabi soon.
Merhaba dear Dolores,
Many thanks for stopping by and your kind note – do hope you enjoy this delicious recipe, how lovely you will be using your home grown aubergine too – Afiyet Olsun,
I made this for a ladies holiday brunch. It made for a delicious beautiful presentation. Perfect with garlic/yogurt dip.
Merhaba, I am so delighted you enjoyed my recipe, thank you for your kind note – Afiyet Olsun, Ozlem
Lovely dish had in icmeler in a traditional Turkish restaurant so pleased to find recipe but unfortunately did not turn out as well.I found the aubergine was not cooked enough and the sauce was very watery.WHERE DID I GO WRONG
Merhaba Caroline, thank you for your note and having a go, I am sorry it didn’t work out as well for you. A few things I thought that may help: 1)Aubegines tend to hold a lot of moisture, hence it is important to sprinkle salt, wait and really squeeze out the excess moisture, that prevents aubergines to do soggy.2)Massage the olive oil and seasoning to the aubergine slices with your hands really well – that helps marinate to penetrate the aubergines and get crisp and soak up flvaour 3)Every oven is different, perhaps cooking a little longer can help too. Slim and smaller aubergines are best here, if the aubergines are larger, they may require longer cooking time. I do hope these help and you enjoy it, thank you again and afiyet olsun, Ozlem
Merhaba, thank you very much for this recipe. I am married to a Turkish man and I am always looking to try and make Turkish dishes for him. This dish is very similar to what my husband’s mum makes. He was very impressed. Looking forward to making more dishes from your recipes. Thank you.
Merhaba dear Saba, so happy to read your kind note – I hope you and your husband enjoy many of Turkish recipes here, Afiyet Olsun, Ozlem
Thank you for this recipe, it’s delicious! Also lighter than I thought, so tasty with rice and yoghurt sauce. Will definitely make it again x
Thank you for your kind note – delighted to hear you enjoyed it, I loved the lightness and the practicality of this recipe too- Afiyet Olsun, Ozlem x
This is excellent! Delicious, attractive, and easy! I will definitely make this for guests soon. I lived in Turkey for almost five years and learned many foods from my late Antepli mother-in-law, who was an excellent cook. She didn’t use the oven too much. This recipe, prepared in oven, is both easy and excellent. Am so glad I came across this recipe. My husband, Umit, a Malatyali, loved it as well. Tesekkurler!!
Thank you so much for your kind note! So delighted you enjoyed this kebab – high compliment that Umit, your Malatyali husband loved it too – cok tesekkurler, Afiyet Olsun, Ozlem xx
I’ve made this dish 3 times now and it is just amazingly great!
I serve it with roast potatos with lemon juice and oregano, and make the tomato sauce by reducing down a tin of tomatos.
Thank you so much for sharing your talents and knowledge!
Best regards, Scott
Thank you so much for your kind note, I am delighted to hear you are enjoying this aubergine and meatballs kebab, a pleasure to share – bende cok tesekkur ederim, afiyet olsun, Ozlem
Hi thank you for the recipe, is it possible to make this a day ahead and reheat? Will it dry out if i do that?
Merhaba, absolutely bake it a day ahead; flavours settle and it will be delicious next day. I would cover in foil when reheating so it won’t dry out, Afiyet Olsun, Ozlem