Thursday, 8 January 2009


This is a great lamb dish from the period Ottoman Empire, from the Palace kitchens and still enjoyed today all over Turkey. It was so enjoyed by the sultan of the Topkapi Palace that it has the name Hunkar Begendi which literally means Sultan's favourite dish.

  • I large aubergine
  • 450 g tender lamb, cut into small chunks
  • 2 tbsp oil or butter
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 2 clove garlic, 1 chopped one left whole, peeled
  • 2 tsp chopped thyme
  • 2 tsp chopped mint
  • half a can of chopped tin tomatoes or 3 fresh tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup of hot water
  • salt and ground pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp  fromage frais
  • 1tsp lemon juice
  • 1 heaped tsp cornflour
  • half a cup milk
  • 2 tsp butter
  • 2 tbsp of grated Edam cheese
  • salt and black pepper to taste.

First  SMOKE THE AUBERGINE  by placing the washed aubergine directly on to the medium heat gas flame on top of the stove. Turn the aubergine until the skin is charred on all sides and the flesh feels soft. This will take about 15 minutes. Let it cool for 5 minutes then hold the aubergine under running cold water and gently peel off the charred skin. Set aside.

In  the mean time, brown the meat, in  a non- stick large pan with  2 tbsp of oil. Transfer the meat into a plate and cook the onion in the same pan and oil. When the onion is pale in colour, return the meat  into the pan and mix with the onion. Add the tomatoes, garlic and herbs. Add the hot water just enough to cover the meat  and let it simmer for about one hour on the low heat. During cooking if the meat gets dry add little bit more water to prevent it sticking. Turn the heat off , season with salt and freshly ground pepper.


Cut and mash the aubergine in a bowl with fromage  frais  and lemon juice . Set aside. In a separate bowl mix the cornflour with the milk. add the cheese, salt and pepper.
Melt the butter in anon stick pan, add the milk, cheese and cornflour mixture and mix and cook it into a smooth white sauce. Turn the heat to low and add the aubergine mixture into the pan with the sauce. Mix well and turn the heat off. Transfer the creamed aubergine into the serving plate. Arrange the lamb over the aubergine and decorate with fresh mint and thyme leaves.
Serves 2.

No comments: