Sultan’s Delight Recipe

sultans delight recipe

Sultan’s Delight or Hünkar Beğendi is easily one of my top 10 meals of all time. I have made it a few different ways and this recipe below is the tastiest! I have heard of people replacing the lamb with meatballs, beef or chicken but I can’t imagine it being as good as the lamb.

I took these photos using the camera in my phone as I don’t have an SLR camera at the moment. This is a recipe that tastes so much better than it looks anyway ;-)

turkish lamb recipe

The tender lamb and the creamy eggplant (aubergine) go together beautifully. It’s such a magical combination. Make sure you slow cook the lamb more than an hour and a half though as you want it to melt in your mouth.

turkish recipes

I haven’t tried a vegetarian version of sultan’s delight but the eggplant puree is delicious. I can imagine it going well with all sorts of other things. Let me know how you go.

5.0 from 2 reviews
Sultan's Delight Recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
You can use diced chicken, beef or meatballs as an alternative to the lamb, but I would try the lamb first if you haven't tried it before. It's so delicious!
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Turkish
Serves: 4 to 6
  • Boneless shoulder lamb 1.3kg or 3 pounds (roughly), cut into chunky bite sized pieces
  • Olive oil splash
  • Garlic 3 large cloves, crushed
  • Spanish onion large, diced
  • Tomato paste 1 tablespoon
  • Tomatoes 3, chopped finely. Many recipes will tell you to peel and deseed the tomatoes but I don't think it makes much difference, so I don't bother.
  • Oregano dried 1 tablespoon
  • Thyme dried ½ teaspoon
  • Lamb or beef stock 2 cups
  • Italian parsley to garnish, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Eggplant Ingredients
  • Eggplants 3 large or 4 small
  • Salt 1 tablespoon
  • Milk 1 cup
  • Lemon juice from 1 small lemon
  • Unsalted butter ¼ cup
  • Plain flour ¼ cup
  • Water 3 cups
  • Grated cheese 2 cups, grated
  • Thickened cream or heavy cream 2 tablespoons
  1. Use a good splash of olive oil in a large saucepan and brown the diced pieces of lamb.
  2. Then add the crushed garlic and diced onion for a few minutes, stir around a little.
  3. Add the herbs (oregano and thyme), tomato paste, tomatoes, and the lamb stock.
  4. Bring the ingredients to the boil and season with salt and pepper.
  5. After bringing the ingredients to the boil, turn the heat down and simmer on a low heat with the lid on for about 1 hour.
  6. The lamb is ready to eat after one hour, BUT I then take the lid off and let it simmer for another 40 minutes to one hour. So all up it's about ! hour and 40 minutes.
Eggplant Puree Instructions
  1. Now that the lamb is cooking away slowly in the background, prick the eggplants and place them on the grill. I just use the grill setting in my oven. I place them in a shallow baking tray on a cooling rack and regularly turn them. It usually takes about 15 to 25 minutes to collapse the eggplants so that the insides are soft and creamy.
  2. Place the lemon, salt and 3 cups of water into a big bowl, ready for the eggplants when they cool down later.
  3. Peel the eggplants by hand after they have cooled down a little and place the pulp in the bowl of water and lemon juice. Mix it around a little and let it sit for a few minutes.
  4. You can then just drain the water using a strainer and then the eggplants are ready to use in the next step. Or I sometimes then put the eggplant in a food processor to get a really smooth and consistent texture.
  5. Warm the milk and cream in a small saucepan and melt the butter in a larger saucepan at the same time. Then add the flour to the melted butter while mixing it in well.
  6. Add the warm milk and cream mix to the melted butter and flour mix and whisk it well. Mix it very well. The mixture shouldn't be boiling.
  7. After a minute or two, add the eggplant pulp (if you popped it into a food processor earlier it'll be a lovely texture) and the cheese to the mix and whisk it all very well for another 4 or 5 minutes.
  8. To serve, pour the yummy eggplant mixture on to a plate, covering the bottom, and then place the tender lamb pieces on top. Garnish with Italian parsley and then.. yum, yum :-)
I have used a few different cheeses and cheese mixes with this hunkar begendi recipe and prefer a mild cheddar. The more traditional Turkish cheeses to use would be a kaşkaval or kasseri cheese but it's hard to find in Australia. I last used mozzarella cheese, which was good but I much prefer a mild cheddar.

Afiyet olsun! :-)


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