Hünkar Beğendi Recipe - Sultan's Delight
Recipe type: Ottoman
Cuisine: Turkish
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
Hünkar Beğendi, or Sultan's Delight, is a rich, creamy dish - and if it was good enough for the sultan, it's good enough for us.
For The Lamb Stew
  • 500g lamb from the leg - chopped into cubes
  • 3 medium-large tomatoes roughly chopped
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves crushed garlic
  • 1 dessert spoonful salça (tomato paste)
  • 1 dessert spoonful kekik (thyme & oregano, mixed)
  • Knob of butter for cooking (around 20g)
  • Salt and pepper for seasoning
For The 'Beğendi'
  • 3 medium sized aubergines (eggplants)
  • Handful grated parmesan (or a strong tulum cheese if you are in Turkey)
  • 50g butter
  • 50g plain flour
  • ½ litre milk
  • Handful of fresh, chopped parsley to garnish
For The Lamb Stew
  1. Melt your butter over a medium heat in large saucepan.
  2. Now add your lamb and stir it round until it starts to brown.
  3. Once your lamb is browned all over, add your onion and garlic and stir.
  4. Cook for 5 minutes or so, until your onion starts to sweat.
  5. Now add your chopped tomatoes, salça and one cup of hot water.
  6. Stir everything together.
  7. Add your thyme and oregano (kekik), salt and pepper and stir.
  8. Once your stew is simmering, put a lid on the pan and turn the heat to low.
  9. Simmer your stew for around 1 hour, until the lamb has softened and your sauce has thickened.
  10. Remove from the heat and make your 'beğendi' puree...
To Make The Aubergine (Eggplant) Puree - The 'Beğendi'
  1. Preheat your oven to 240 degrees.
  2. Prick your aubergines with a sharp knife and place on a baking tray in the centre of the oven.
  3. Bake the aubergines until they are soft to touch (around 15-20 minutes).
  4. Remove from the oven and leave them to cool.
  5. Once cooled, make a slit along the length of each aubergine.
  6. Scrape out the pulp with a teaspoon.
  7. Discard the skins and as many of the seeds as possible.
  8. Chop up the pulp.
  9. Now melt your butter in a saucepan over a medium heat.
  10. Once melted, gradually add your flour, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon.
  11. After you've added all your flour, your mixture will be relatively solid and now you can start to add your milk.
  12. Add your milk a little at a time, again, stirring continuously so that the mixture remains smooth.
  13. Keep going until you have used up all of your milk and you have a smooth, milky mixture.
  14. Keep stirring and after a couple of minutes, you will notice the sauce start to thicken.
  15. Once the sauce has started to thicken, add your aubergine. Keep stirring, gently.
  16. Now add your grated cheese and keep stirring until your 'beğendi' sauce has thickened enough to make a suitable nest for your lamb.
  17. To serve, share the beğendi sauce between your plates, making a little nest in the centre of each.
  18. Now spoon the lamb stew into the nest and allow the sauces to run over the aubergine puree.
  19. Sprinkle the parsley over the lamb and serve up your Sultan's Delight.
The lamb stew for the hünkar beğendi recipe can be cooked in advance and reheated later, when you are ready to serve.
When you make the beğendi sauce, aubergines can discolour quickly. If you want to roast them in advance, you can prevent discolouration by placing the pulp in a bowl of water with a light sprinkling of salt and the juice of one lemon. When you are ready to make your sauce, press the aubergine puree in a sieve to drain the water.
Recipe by Turkey's For Life at https://www.turkeysforlife.com/2012/09/turkish-recipes-hunkar-begendi-ottoman.html