Ali Nazik is one of my favorite Turkish dishes. The real Ali Nazik is something to scream about but you simply cannot recreate it here in the U.S. The veggies are not right, and neither is the meat. So I developed a version that satisfies the craving until I get back home to mom’s version.I modified my version even more to accommodate the food regimen that I am currently following.
Ali Nazik Kebabi (Modified Significantly to Meet 20/20 Lifestyles guidelines, and lack of decent ingredients)
- 1/2 lb. Lean ground beef, or lamb cubes
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 Tbsps olive oil
- 2 large eggplants
- black pepper, red chili flakes to taste
- 2 serrano chilis, finely chopped (OPTIONAL)
- 30-34 oz. strained yogurt, non-fat (You can use 2 of the 17-oz non-fat Fage Yogurt, or drain 34-40 oz of regular non-fat yogurt and strain it with a cheese cloth over a spider colander for 4-6 hours in the fridge)
Set the oven to broil. On a small to medium oven tray, lay some aluminum foil and spray with Pam to oil it. Poke the eggplants with a fork deep 3 times on each side as you turn it, totaling about 12 pokes per eggplant. Put the eggplants on the foil and broil on one side for 15 minutes. Turn sides and broil for another 15 or so minutes. You are looking for softness. Larger the eggplant, longer it will take.
Let eggplant cool. In the meantime, cook the beef in a small pan. Stir as needed, to avoid clumping. I tend to overcook it to make it very very crispy. Set a side.
Gut the eggplants (cut slits lengthwise and use a spoon to empty guts) and put it through a strainer to get rid of excess juices.Use a hand mixer or a fork to break down any big masses of eggplant. It should be in small chunks or mushy even (I mush it up myself but the original tends to be chunky)
In a wok, heat the olive oil on medium heat. Add eggplant and cook until hot. Add garlic and cook for 2-3 more minutes. Turn down the heat to simmer and add the yogurt. Stir frequently to avoid curdling of the yogurt. Add spices to taste.
When yogurt is getting warm to hot (5-10 minutes), pour the yogurt on a pie dish or something similar to create a 1-1.5 inch layer of yogurt. Sparingly top it with the beef, the optional chilis and red chili flakes.
NOTE: If you don’t want to abide by the 20/20 rules, replace the non-fat yogurt with fatty kind. Also, use 2-3 tablespoons of butter instead of olive oil. You can also add salt. To make even more damage, after assembling the dish as instructed, melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a pan and cook it for a few minutes with 1-2 tablespoons of red chili flakes and pour it over the beef.
ANOTHER NOTE: You can do this dish with ground lamb or chunks of lamb and beef as well.