Greetings to all food lovers, passionate cooks, and anyone who is up for a new culinary adventure. Today, I want to share with you a recipe that is close to my heart and represents the pinnacle of Ottoman cuisine – Hunkar Begendi.
This traditional Turkish dish has been around for centuries, and it’s still enjoyed by people all around the world. The name itself translates to “the sultan’s delight,” and when you taste it, you’ll know exactly why.
With its signature creamy eggplant puree and succulent lamb stew, this dish is sure to impress your guests and satisfy the most demanding of palates. Its richness and depth of flavor are truly unmatched.
But let me tell you, making Hunkar Begendi is no easy feat – I’ve spent years perfecting this recipe! That’s why I am excited to share with you my tried-and-true method for creating this masterpiece.
So get ready to transport your taste buds to the time of the Ottoman Empire and experience the decadence and luxury of Hunkar Begendi. This dish is sure to become a staple in your cooking repertoire, leaving your friends and family begging for more.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
If you’re looking for a dish that is full of flavors, textures, and history, then look no further than the Hunkar Begendi recipe. This traditional Turkish dish has been enjoyed by Ottoman Sultans and commoners alike for centuries, and it’s not hard to see why.
The creamy eggplant puree paired with the tender and flavorful lamb stew creates an explosion of tastes that will satisfy any palate. Every bite is a journey through the rich layers of Ottoman cuisine, filled with spices, aromas, and secrets only revealed by years of culinary tradition.
Not to mention how easy this recipe is to make! Despite its complex flavor profile, preparing Hunkar Begendi requires only basic cooking skills and readily available ingredients such as eggplants, tomatoes, onions, garlic, lamb meat, and kasseri cheese. With a little patience and love for cooking, you can bring the taste of Turkey to your home kitchen in no time.
Plus, this dish is versatile enough to be served in various ways depending on your preference. You can enjoy it hot as a hearty stew with rice on the side or savor it cold as a dip with fresh pita bread. You can even transform it into a casserole-style dish by layering the eggplant puree with bechamel sauce and minced meat before baking it in the oven.
So why not try this delicious Hunkar Begendi recipe today? Impress your friends and family with a taste of authentic Turkish cuisine that will leave them asking for more.
Here are the ingredients you will need for this delicious Hunkar Begendi recipe:
For the Lamb Stew:
- 1 lb. boneless lamb, cut into small pieces
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 tbsp. tomato paste
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 tsp. sugar
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Olive oil
For the Eggplant Puree:
- 2 medium-sized eggplants (about 4 cups pureed eggplant)
- 1 tbsp. butter
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 3/4 cup grated kasseri cheese
Make sure you have all the ingredients before starting the preparation. You can substitute some of these ingredients if they are not available in your pantry or if you wish to add a twist to the recipe.
The Recipe How-To
Step 1: Cook the Meat
Heat olive oil (1-2 tablespoons) in a large pot over medium heat. Add diced onion (1 large), minced garlic (3 cloves) and sauté for a few minutes until fragrant.
Add the lamb pieces (1 leg of lamb, boneless, cut into 2 cm pieces). Sear them on all sides until browned. Add salt and pepper (1/4 tsp each).
Pour in enough water to cover the meat. Add 2 tablespoons of tomato paste, cover the pot with a lid, and let it simmer for about 1 hour or until the meat is tender.
Tip: You can also use other cuts of lamb that are suitable for stewing.
Step 2: Prepare the Eggplant Mash
Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
Wash and prick a mid-sized eggplants (2 eggplants) all over with a fork. Roast them in the preheated oven for about 45-50 minutes or until soft.
Remove from oven and let cool completely. Cut them lengthwise, scoop out the flesh and discard the skins. Puree the eggplants using a food processor or blender until smooth.
Melt butter (2 tbsp) in a saucepan over low heat. Add all-purpose flour (4 tbsp) and stir for about 2 minutes. Gradually pour milk (2 cups), whisking constantly to avoid lumps. Cook until you have a smooth white sauce, about 5 minutes.
Add eggplant puree to the white sauce gradually while stirring constantly. Keep stirring until all ingredients are well combined.
Step 3: Combine the Lamb Stew and Eggplant Mash
Add lamb ragout to the eggplant mash saucepan and stir well. Cover with a lid and cook on medium heat for another 10-15 minutes.
Step 4: Serve
Serve hot with crusty bread or Turkish rice pilaf on top. Optional: sprinkle some chopped fresh parsley on top as garnish.
Enjoy your delicious Hunkar Begendi!
Substitutions and Variations
Oh, what fun it is to play with substitutes and variations in a recipe! Allow me, dear reader, to share some of my ideas and suggestions with you.
Firstly, let’s talk about the cheese. Kasseri cheese may not be readily available in your local grocery store – fret not! You could use provolone or mozzarella cheese as a substitute for kasseri cheese. They will have a similar texture and taste.
Secondly, the recipe calls for nutmeg. Not everyone is fond of this flavor, so I recommend substituting it with cinnamon or cardamom if nutmeg isn’t your cup of tea.
Thirdly, if you would like to make this recipe vegetarian-friendly, you could eliminate the meat entirely or replace it with mushrooms or tofu. You could also substitute the lamb with beef or chicken.
Fourthly, for a healthier version of this recipe, you could bake the eggplant instead of frying it in oil. Roasting the eggplant would also enhance its natural flavors.
Lastly, if you want to switch up the dish’s appearance a bit, instead of keeping the eggplant mashed and separate from the stew, you could mix it up in the lamb ragout itself. That way, every bite will have deliciousness layered into it.
Incorporating these substitutions and variations will create unique twists on this already incredible dish. I guarantee your guests will be impressed!
Serving and Pairing
Hünkar beğendi is a dish that is perfect to serve to guests or to prepare for a special occasion. The creamy eggplant puree pairs perfectly with the tender lamb stew, making it a rich and flavorful dish.
To serve, place a generous portion of the lamb stew on a plate and top it off with a dollop of the eggplant puree. Garnish it with parsley or mint for an added touch of freshness. This dish is perfect as a main course, accompanied by crusty bread or rice.
Pair this Ottoman cuisine with a bold and full-bodied red wine such as a Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon. The acidity and tannins in the wine complement the richness of the lamb and eggs in the dish.
If you prefer beer, you can pair it with an amber ale or an IPA that has floral and citrus notes. The refreshing bitterness of the beer cuts through the richness of the creamy eggplant puree.
For those who prefer non-alcoholic drinks, enjoy hunkar begendi with a chilled glass of Ayran, a yogurt-based drink, which helps cool down any spiciness from the dish.
Overall, hunkar begendi is one dish that will impress both your taste buds and your guests. So go on, indulge in this hearty Turkish delight!
Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating
When it comes to make-ahead and storing, Hunkar Begendi is a great recipe to prepare in advance, as the dish tastes better on the second day. You can make the lamb stew up to two days before serving, and store it in an airtight container in the fridge. The eggplant puree can also be made ahead of time and stored separately in the refrigerator for up to three days.
To reheat the dish, warm up the lamb stew in a pan over medium heat until heated through. You may need to add a bit of water or stock if the sauce has thickened too much in the fridge. Make sure to stir occasionally to prevent sticking or burning. Meanwhile, reheat the eggplant puree either on the stovetop or microwave until smooth and creamy.
When you’re ready to serve, simply spoon a generous amount of eggplant puree onto each plate and top with a ladleful of hot lamb stew. The combination is absolutely divine! In terms of pairing, consider serving a fresh salad or some crusty bread on the side, which will help cut through the richness of this decadent Ottoman cuisine-inspired recipe.
Overall, with its make-head and reheating versatility, Hunkar Begendi is an ideal option for busy weeknights or large gatherings where saving time without sacrificing taste is key!
Tips for Perfect Results
As a chef, I have some tips to ensure you make the best Hunkar Begendi ever. Hunkar Begendi is a delicious Ottoman cuisine dish that features a lamb stew served with eggplant puree or mash.
First and foremost, when preparing the eggplant puree, it is essential to roast the eggplants properly to bring out their full flavor. It would be best if you roasted them on an open flame until they are charred on the outside and tender on the inside. This process gives the eggplants that smoky flavor that adds something extra to the dish.
To avoid sogginess in your dish, make sure that you squeeze out any excess water from the pureed eggplant. Simply place a cheesecloth or a towel over a strainer and then add your pureed eggplant. The cheesecloth helps absorb any water content present, which could otherwise make the dish too watery.
The lamb is also an essential part of this dish, and choosing what cut of meat to use will drastically affect your results. Lamb leg is perfect for Hunkar Begendi because it holds up well during cooking and retains its tenderness. Cut the meat into small pieces as this allows it to cook well in the stew.
When seasoning your lamb and sauce, be sure not to overdo it with spices like nutmeg; otherwise, they may overwhelm other flavors in the dish. Use just enough nutmeg to add richness and depth of flavor without taking over everything else.
Whisking some sugar into your lamb stew will help balance out spice while also giving your dish an appealing color by caramelizing the meat.
Lastly, remember always to use fresh ingredients when cooking this dish. There’s just nothing like fresh garlic, tomatoes, and onions when used in Hunkar Begendi recipe. Ensure that you source quality ingredients so that you get the best possible flavor from your meal.
Following these tips will ensure that every time you step into making Hunkar Begendi Recipe, you end up with something truly special – one that tantalizes taste buds of everyone at your dinner table!
In conclusion, if you’re looking for a recipe that takes you on a magical journey to the Ottoman Empire, then Hunkar Begendi is the perfect choice. With its unique blend of flavors and textures, this dish will leave your guests feeling satisfied and impressed. Whether you’re cooking for a special occasion or simply want to impress your family and friends, this recipe is a winner.
So, go ahead and give it a try! Get yourself some juicy lamb, creamy eggplant puree, and tangy tomato paste, and start cooking up a storm. Trust me, the result will be sultan-worthy!
Remember to follow the instructions carefully and let yourself be creative with substitutions and variations. And most importantly, have fun in the kitchen!
Thank you for joining me in this culinary adventure. I hope this recipe has inspired you to explore more Turkish cuisine and try new flavors. Who knows? Maybe one day, you’ll be cooking up a feast fit for a sultan!
Hunkar Begendi Recipe
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 lbs lamb, cut into 3/4 inch cubes
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 lb tomatoes, peeled and chopped
- 1 teaspoon sugar
Eggplant Cream Sauce
- 1 lb eggplant
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups hot milk
- 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
- 1/2 cup kasseri cheese, grated
- Stew: Fry the onion in the oil till soft. Add meat and brown. Add garlic and cook for a few seconds longer.
- Add tomatoes, sugar, and salt and pepper to taste.
- Add water to cover and simmer with the lid on for about 1 or 1 1/2 hours, till meat is very tender.
- If necessary, add more water or let the sauce reduce a bit to get a good saucy consistency.
- Eggplant Sauce: Prick eggplants all over and roast in a very hot oven (500 degrees or as hot as your oven goes) for 30 minutes, until eggplants soften and skin chars. Cool and peel carefully.
- Put lemon juice in a bowl of water and put peelec eggplants in acidified water to keep them white.
- Melt butter in saucepan, add flour and stiur over very low heat for 2 minutes or until well-blended. Remove from the heat and add milk gradually, beating vigorously. Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste. Cook ove rlow heat for 15 minutes, until sauce thickens.
- Drain the eggplants in a colander and squeeze out as much water and juice as possible. Chop in the colander and mash with a fork (I think this step is meant to allow additional drainage).
- Mix with the milk sauce until well blended. Return to the heat, add grated cheese, stir until melted and add more salt and pepper if necessary.
- Serve the stew with the eggplant cream in a ring around it. Serve with rice.