Hunkar Begendi Traditional Turkish dish

Hunkar Begendi Dish
A Traditional Turkish Stew

Hunkar Begendi is a traditional Turkish dish that has been enjoyed for centuries. It is a delicious blend of flavors and textures that will leave you feeling satisfied and happy. The dish consists of a rich and creamy eggplant puree or “begendi” that is served with tender chunks of meat. The name Hunkar Begendi means “the Sultan liked it” and it is said to have been a favorite dish of Ottoman Sultans.

Making the Dish and Prepar the Meat

To make Hunkar Begendi, you will need to start by roasting the eggplants. You can do this by placing them on a baking sheet and roasting them in the oven until the skin is charred and the flesh is soft.

Hunkar Begendi Traditional Turkish Dish

Once the eggplants are roasted, you will need to remove the skin and mash the flesh with a fork or potato masher.

Next, you will need to prepare the meat. You can use lamb, beef, or chicken for this dish. Simply cut the meat into small cubes and cook it in a skillet until it is browned on all sides. Once the meat is cooked, you can set it aside and prepare the sauce.

Making the Sauce

To make the sauce, you will need to melt some butter in a saucepan and add some flour to make a roux. Once the roux is cooked, you can slowly add some milk and whisk it together until it becomes a smooth and creamy sauce. Then, you can add the eggplant puree to the sauce and stir it together until it is well combined.

Finally, you can add the cooked meat to the sauce and stir it together until it is heated through. You can season the dish with salt, pepper and any other spices you like, such as paprika or cumin.

Serving the Hunkar Begendi

Hunkar Begendi is typically served with rice pilaf or bulgur pilaf and some chopped parsley or cilantro on top. It is a hearty and satisfying meal that is perfect for any occasion. Whether you are cooking for your family or entertaining guests, Hunkar Begendi is sure to impress.


In conclusion, Hunkar Begendi is a delicious and traditional Turkish dish that is perfect for any occasion. It is easy to prepare and can be customized to suit your taste preferences. So, the next time you are looking for a new and exciting dish to try, give Hunkar Begendi a try and see why it has been a favorite of Turkish cuisine for centuries.


3 Tbsp olive oil, I use a mild extra virgin

500 g lamb, lean cut, cut into 2 cm dice

1 medium onion, roughly chopped

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

50 g tomato paste

2 tsp pul biber (Aleppo pepper)

1 tsp sugar

400 g tomato, skinned and chopped (I use fresh, but canned will do)


a little chopped parsley, to garnish (optional)

salt and pepper

Begendi Sauce

1 kg aubergine (eggplant)

25 g butter

25 g white flour

250 ml whole milk

salt and pepper

  1. Grill the aubergines directly on a gas flame, turning regularly, until completely burnt and soft. This usually takes around 10–15 minutes. Cool slightly then peel off the burnt skin. Alternatively, you can roast the aubergines in a very hot oven (250 °C) until completely soft (around 1 hour), but you’ll lose most of the smoky flavour that makes the sauce unique.
  1. Meanwhile, heat a thick bottomed wide pot over medium/high heat. Season the lamb pieces with salt and pepper, then brown in batches in the olive oil, using as much oil as needed. Set aside.
  1. Turn the heat down to medium, then fry the onion, stirring regularly, until soft and translucent, but not browned, 8–10 minutes or more.
  1. Add the garlic, tomato paste, pul biber and sugar. Fry for another 1–2 minutes, stirring constantly to avoid burning.
  1. Return the lamb pieces (along with their juices) to the pan alongside the chopped tomatoes and enough water to just cover the meat. Season with salt and pepper, then bring to a boil. Turn the heat down and leave to simmer until the meat is completely tender, 45 minutes to an hour or more, depending on the cut. Leave off the heat for 10–15 minutes before serving.
  1. Meanwhile, place a a large, thick bottomed frying pan or pot over medium heat. Add the butter and, once melted, the flour. Whisk until completely mixed, then add the milk while whisking vigorously. Keep stirring until you have a thick sauce, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Take off the heat. Roughly chop the smoky aubergine and add to the sauce. Taste for seasoning once more.
  1. Add the begendi sauce to serving plates, topping with the lamb stew and a sprinkle of freshly chopped parsley, then serve immediately.

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