Almost Turkish Recipes

Adana Style Stuffed Eggplants and Zucchinis (Adana Usulü Patlıcan ve Kabak Dolması)

Years ago, my mom went to Adana--one of the "kebap" capitals of Turkey--to visit her cousins. In stead of kebap, she brought back this eggplant + zucchini dolma recipe. In Adana, they usually use sundried eggplants and zucchinis; however, in the northwestern part of Turkey it's not easy to sundry vegetables as it is in the southeastern part, so we modified the recipe by replacing sundried vegetables with fresh ones.

With the following ingredients I stuffed 12 big dolmas (6 eggplants + 6 zucchinis). If you're not planning to stuff so many of them, use half of it.

6 small eggplants (as seen in the picture)
2 huge zucchinis (I cut each in three equal pieces)

for stuffing:
1/2 pound ground meat
2 cups of white rice (never use basmati rice)
3 onions, chopped
2-3 tomatoes, grated or 1 can of diced tomato
1 bunch parsley, chopped
1 bunch dill, chopped
1/2 cup fresh mint, chopped or 1/3 cup dried mint flakes
1 tsp black pepper
1 1/2 tsp salt

for the sauce:
8 cloves of garlic, minced
6 tbsp olive oil or butter

2 tbsp dried mint flakes2 tbsp hot pepper paste
1 tsp or more pepper flakes

juice of two lemons

-In a big bowl mix well all the ingredients for the stuffing
-For the eggplants: cut the tops off, peel them in striped pattern, and carve them with a potato peeler or a spoon. After carving, put the eggplants in a bowl filled with salty water to prevent darkening. Make a little cut at the bottom or on the side of eggplants and zucchinis with a knife so that they can cook thoroughly
-For the zucchinis: I picked 2 huge zucchinis to make carving easier. The zucchinis were from farmer's market and organic, so I did not peel them. I cut them into three equal pieces and carved them with a potato peeler and it was very easy. In the end they looked like weird coffee mugs
-Stuff the eggplants and zucchinis with the stuffing and place them in a big wide pot facing up. Add water to the pot. It shouldn't cover the dolmas; the water level should be 1 or 1 1/2 inches below the top

-Cover and cook on low to medium heat (boiling vigorously would crack the dolmas) for 40 -45 minutes
-In a skillet heat the oil and stir in garlic. After a a couple of minutes add the paste and mint flakes. Stir for another 1-2 minutes. Pour in lemon juice, stir, and turn offthe heat
-Pour the sauce on dolmas with a spoon at the end of 45-minute cooking and cook for another 10-15 minutes.


  1. Oh! I love this recipe! I had a ton of eggplants in my garden, so I will certainly make this many times. Thank for sharing this.

  2. wow
    it look so dilecios

    in fact i dont like it but
    u made me wanna eat it

  3. These look delicious! I should put my zucchini to good use like this!

  4. I don't know when you posted this recipe. It looks great...but I have to ask a question:

    What do you do with the part of the eggplant and zucchini that you cut out?

  5. petite américaine,
    you can chop some of the insides and add it into the stuffing, but unfortunately you cannot use all of it.

  6. When you make the stuffing, is the rice already cooked, or do you put it in raw?

  7. Zeekster- use raw rice.

  8. Hilly3:30 AM

    I was wondering if you could tell me how to do this recipe with the sundried eggplants and zucchini as i am living in Cappadocia and they are everywhere. Tesekkurler

  9. Hi Hilly,
    Boiling dried zucchinis and eggplants for ~5 minutes or until they're soft but not mushy would do. I wish I could find dried vegetables here, too. Btw Kapadokya is a great place to live :)

  10. Anonymous12:46 PM

    This recipe is close to perfect. I have a few suggestions, too! (This is my favorite dish, I'm from Adana):)

    1. Dried eggplants are really better for this dish. You can buy them in the US in Arab food stores or order online from Turkish food websites. And you don't need to carve them, they're so practical:)

    2. You can also cook the same dish with dried paprikas and grape vine leaves (which is insanely delicious).

    3. We also add some chickpeas to this dish (it's optional), but I replace the meat with chickpeas since I'm vegetarian.

    4. You can use canned (crushed) tomatoes, it turns out just as good as long as you use a brand with no citric acid and no additives.

    5. You can add more tomato. I don't use any water for this dish. Instead, I use tons of juicy tomato and simmer it long. It's a little risky, if you are not sure how much tomato you need to use, it can take some trial-and-error.

    6. Don't keep cooking after adding the sauce. Let it sit for 20-30 minutes and absorb the sauce. You don't want the garlic to cook:)

    7. With the insides of the zucchini and eggplants: You can fry them with some olive oil and mix them with yogurt and garlic sauce. Add some fresh dill and walnuts to this dish and eat it after it cools down. Alternatively, pour a tomato sauce over it after frying. Tomato sauce: cook tomatoes and fresh parsley in a sauce pan, add olive oil, salt, garlic to taste. Zuchhini is a very juicy vegetable, drain its juice before you fry it (add some salt on it and squeeze the juice out after 10 minutes).

  11. fantastic recipe! it's delicious and i'm making for the 10th time...

  12. My goodness, of course you can use the insides that you've scooped out. In our family we look forward to the 'day after' to enjoy mashed zucchini insides sauteed in olive oil with some chopped onion, salt/pepper. When wilted Mom used to break two (or more) eggs over the mixture, prick the yolks with a fork, and cook just till the whites are set. We always swoon. Why we don't just make this with whole zukes to start with, I don't know. It's always a special treat this way I guess. (or in the olden days it was)

  13. Dear Burcu,
    the vegetables turned out great, thanks a lot for the recipe.
    What would you serve as a side dish? A sauce or salad or bread?

  14. I would go with yogurt or even better a garlicy yogurt. Smash one clove of garlic with a pinch of salt and mix with 1-2 cups of yogurt. If you like garlic you can use more.

    But a green salad would go nice as well.

  15. Mrs Benlican4:32 AM

    Thank you anonymous from Adana, I was wondering how could I "vegeterianize" this recipe. I live in Izmir so I'll be using the sun dried patlicans as well. Can't wait to try it.

  16. Anonymous5:51 AM

    Why can you not use basmati rice?

  17. @Anonymous, I guess "never" is a strong statement, but basmati has a very distinct flavor that does not fit in with Turkish cooking.

  18. is the meat in the stuffing put in raw as well, or do you cook it first? this looks absolutely delicious by the way! thanks so much for sharing! :)

    1. it's raw and you cook it after stuffing.

  19. Anonymous4:49 AM

    What rice is best to use if not basmati?


    1. Short grain would be good.