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Hunkar begendi it still preserves its distinction and place as one of the most important taste heritages from the Ottoman Empire.
Although centuries have passed, it always manages to become one of the most popular invitation dishes of Turkish cuisine. How would you like to learn the story of the arrival of this flavor, which we often prefer on special occasions, as we have special guests, to our tables? Hunkar begendi history
Is there anyone who does not know how popular eggplant dishes are in Turkish cuisine? We don’t think so. A feast of taste that emerges when the delicious taste of eggplant meets red meat, one of the cornerstones of Turkish cuisine.
If you ask what is the nirvana of eggplant and red meat, which create flavor combinations that are very insistent on mind-blowing, our answer is undoubtedly one of the most precious tastes of Turkish cuisine; Hunkar will like it.
The story of Hunkar Begendi
While the calendars were showing the summer months of 1867, Hünkar Begendi, one of the most precious dishes on our tables, came out with a story that could not match the movies. This sad story begins with Sultan Abdülaziz’s departure to Paris as the first and last sultan to go abroad outside of the campaign. Sultan Abdulaziz visits Napoleon III in Paris for an international exhibition, and unexpected things happen.
Ottoman sultan Sultan Abdulaziz and III. Empress Eugénie, wife of Napoleon. Napoleon and his wife, Empress Eugenie, Sultan Abdulaziz’s care are accommodated in the palace of Sultan Abdulaziz and yet Empress Eugenie, the wind already have fallen in love at first sight. When the exhibition ended, Sultan Abdulaziz had only one thing in mind as he was returning to Istanbul from Paris; impossible love Empress Eugenie. But for Eugenie, the situation was no different. It was not possible for Eugenie to forget Sultan Abdulaziz, who was recorded in the historical records as a famous sultan for his majesty.
However, fate had not yet prepared its final surprise for Sultan Abdulaziz and Empress Eugenie. Years later, the Suez Canal Napoleon III and his wife Eugenie were also invited to the opening. Since Napoleon could not accept this invitation, he sent Empress Eugenie to Egypt to represent them. While traveling by ship to Egypt, Eugenie stopped by the port of Istanbul and visited Sultan Abdulaziz in his palace. Bringing her cook accompanying her to the palace on her way to Egypt, Euginie asks her cook to make bechamel sauce for Sultan Abdulaziz and herself during this visit. Eugenie’s cook prepares the béchamel sauce, and at that time, the head chef of the palace cuisine adds roasted eggplant to the béchamel sauce and puts the sultan’s favorite meat dish on top of this mortar and presents it to Sultan Abdülaziz and his guest Eugenie. Sultan Abdulaziz liked this dish so much that after that day, this dish was ‘ Hunkar Begendi it ‘. It is famous all over the country and the world.
Unfortunately, this beautiful dish has a bitter memory. Deciding to stay with Abdülaziz in Istanbul after dinner that day, Eugenie went to the sultan’s mother Pertevniyal Valide Sultan while she was in the harem one day , and she expelled herself from the palace and Eugenie, who returned to her country, was sent into exile by her husband, Napoleon III. Sultan Abdulaziz was also deposed and killed shortly after. Thus, the lovers could not reunite, but a bitter taste legacy remained from their love.
The Origins of Hunkar Begendi
Begendi, which translates to “the Sultan’s Delight,” is a dish that dates back to the Ottoman Empire. It was originally prepared for the sultans and high-ranking officials, and was served during special occasions and celebrations.
Hunkar Begendi is made with lamb or beef, eggplant, milk, butter, flour, and a range of spices, including salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Some recipes also call for garlic and onion.
How to Make Hunkar Begendi
To make Begendi, start by grilling or roasting the eggplant until it’s tender and slightly charred. Then, remove the skin and chop the eggplant finely.
Next, cook the lamb or beef until it’s tender, adding garlic and onion if desired. Once the meat is cooked, add the chopped eggplant and spices, and cook for a few minutes.
In a separate pan, make a roux by melting butter and adding flour, cooking until it’s lightly browned. Then, slowly add milk to the pan, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens.
Add the milk mixture to the meat and eggplant mixture, and stir until it’s well combined. Let the dish simmer for a few minutes before serving.
Hunkar Begendi is traditionally served with pilaf, a type of rice dish, and garnished with parsley or mint. It can also be served with bread or salad on the side.
While the classic Hunkar Begendi recipe calls for lamb or beef, some people use chicken or veal instead. Others add tomatoes or bell peppers to the dish for extra flavor.
Hunkar Begendi is a delicious and satisfying Turkish dish that has stood the test of time. With its rich history and flavorful ingredients, it’s a meal that’s sure to please both the palate and the soul.