hunkar begendi recipe 1

hunkar begendi recipe

Hunkar begendi is a traditional Turkish dish consisting of a flavorful lamb stew that is served on top of a creamy roasted eggplant purée. The purée is often thickened with milk and cheese, while the whole dish is sometimes topped with a tomato-based sauce or garnished with freshly chopped parsley.

hunkar begendi
hunkar begendi

It is believed that the dish is native to Istanbul and was first prepared for the wife of Napoleon III in the late 19th century.

hunkar begendi recipe
hunkar begendi recipe


  • 1 kgtrimmed, boneless lamb leg meat, diced into 3 cm pieces
  • 2 tbsptomato paste
  • 2 tbspcapsicum paste (see Note)
  • 3garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2onions, finely chopped
  • 3bay leaves
  • 2 tbspolive oil
  • 2green capsicum, finely chopped
  • 4ripe tomatoes, diced
  • 2-3 tbspbutter
  • 1 cuphot water
  • ½ cupparsley, finely chopped

Eggplant puree

  • 4-5large eggplants
  • 50 gbutter
  • ¼ cup(35 g) plain flour
  • 1¼ cups(310 ml) milk
  • ½ cupgrated Turkish hard mature cheese (kasar) or kashkaval cheese (see Note)

Cook’s notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.

The following recipe has been tested and edited by SBS Food and may differ slightly from the podcast.
You will need to begin this recipe 1 day ahead.
hunkar begendi recipe
Marinating time 6–12 hours
Place the lamb in a large bowl. Add the tomato and capsicum pastes, garlic and half the onion and bay leaves. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge for 6–12 hours to marinate.   Place a saucepan over medium heat, add olive oil, and saute the remaining until golden and tender. Add the lamb, green capsicum and tomato, butter and hot water. Increase heat to high, bring to boil, then reduce heat to low and sinner gently for 45 minutes, or until the lamb is tender, season to taste.To make the eggplant puree, place the eggplant on open fire such as a charcoal barbecue, or gas stove. If using a gas stove, line the stove with foil to protect from dripping juice. Place the eggplant on a heavy metal rack and cook on high heat, turning occasionally until the skin of the eggplant is burnt and the flesh very tender (approx. 30 mins). Set the eggplant aside to cool, then cut in half lengthways, scoop out all flesh and mash.In a separate saucepan over medium heat, melt 50 g butter, add flour and cook, stirring for 2 minutes. Whisk in the milk until smooth, then add mashed eggplant. Cook, stirring often for 6–7 minutes, or until thickened, adding kasar cheese in the final two minutes. To serve, divide the eggplant puree among plates, top with the lamb and scatter with parsley.
• Capsicum paste and kasar cheese are available in Turkish food stores.
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