Sultan’s delight (hünkar beğendi) recipe
Evrim Gunce presents a fortnightly segment titled Food Journey, talking to chef and restaurateur Somer Sivrioglu about classic and regional Turkish meals.
Skill level Mid
1 kg trimmed, boneless lamb leg meat, diced into 3 cm pieces
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp capsicum paste (see Note)
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 onions, finely chopped
3 bay leaves
2 tbsp olive oil
2 green capsicum, finely chopped
4 ripe tomatoes, diced
2-3 tbsp butter
1 cup hot water
½ cup parsley, finely chopped
4-5 large eggplants
50 g butter
¼ cup (35 g) plain flour
1¼ cups (310 ml) milk
½ cup grated Turkish hard mature cheese (kasar) or kashkaval cheese (see Note)
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.
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.
Photography by Alan Benson. Styling by Michelle Noerianto
Recipes related to Sultan’s delight (hünkar beğendi):
Lamb tagine with stewed apricots and prunes (mrouzia) recipe | Moroccan Lamb Tagine | Lamb, silverbeet and feta gözleme | Aubergine puree topped with lamb stew | Hummus with spiced lamb (hummus b'lahmeh) | Slow-roasted lamb with jewelled yoghurt