Legendary Dishes | Hünkar Begendi (aubergine purée)


Known as sultan’s delight (because of its association with Sultan Adbülaziz), this aubergine purée traditonally accompanies a simple beef stew made with half a kilo of cubed beef seared in butter, added to sautéed onions, a tablespoon of tomato paste and 250 ml beef stock. This stew is poured on top of the purée.

It can also be served on its own with a garnish of raw vegetables and fresh herbs.

  • 1.25 kg (4 x 325 g) aubergines, whole
  • 1 litre water
  • 500 g milk
  • 2 tomatoes, cut into wedges
  • 2 long green peppers, sliced
  • 90 g kasar cheese / cheddar cheese, grated
  • 75 g butter
  • 75 g white wheat flour
  • Handful of lovage leaves
  • Handful of mint leaves
  • Handful of parsley
  • Salt, large pinch
  • 2 lemons, juice

Char the aubergines until the peel begins to darken and flake over a barbecue grill, gas or open flame. Peel under a running tap in a large bowl. Transfer aubergines to a separate bowl filled with the lemon juice, water and a pinch of salt. Leave for 15 minutes. Squeeze lemon water out of aubergines, crush and pulp with a sharp knife.

Make a light roux in a heavy based saucepan, remove from heat, stir aubergine pulp into roux and mix. Put back on a medium heat, pour in milk, bring gradually to a low boil, stirring constantly. Add the cheese, mix and stir for two minutes.

Garnish with green pepper slices, tomato wedges and choice of fresh leafy herbs.