Hunkar Begendi

Preparation info

  • Serves


    • Difficulty


Appears in

The Mediterranean Kitchen

By Joyce Goldstein

Published 1998

  • About

This rich puree of eggplant, extra creamy and smooth with béchamel and Parmesan cheese, is a Turkish delight. We usually use it as the bed for Izmir Koftesi, little meatballs in tomato sauce. You could serve this with or without the tomato sauce as an accompaniment for a simple roast leg of lamb or grilled lamb chops. A little cumin, or allspice and dill in the tomato sauce will give the ensemble an appropriately Turkish flavor.


  • 3 medium globe eggplants, about 1 pound each


    Preheat the oven to 450°F. Prick each eggplant in a few places with a fork. Put them in a roasting pan or baking dish and bake until very soft, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Turn them occasionally for even cooking. Let stand until cool enough to handle, then peel and drain the pulp in a colander for 15 minutes. Puree the pulp in a food processor (you should have 6 to 8 cups).

    For the béchamel, heat the butter in a small saucepan over low heat until melted. Add the flour and cook until blended, about 4 minutes. Whisk in the cream and cook, whisking constantly, until thickened, about 4 minutes. Add the salt, pepper, and nutmeg, if using.

    Combine the eggplant puree, béchamel, and Parmesan in a mixing bowl. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Keep the eggplant puree warm over hot water until ready to serve or reheat just before serving.