Sultan’s delight (Hünkar beğendi)

"There are many versions of this famous Turkish dish; this is the Stanbuli version," says Kasif. "The recipe of meat with eggplant sauce dates back to the 15th century and can include braised lamb, chicken, köfte or, in this case, duck. Although, frankly, anything with this smoky eggplant sauce will be hands-down delicious. I would even eat it as a soup."

You'll need

6 duck Marylands (250gm-300gm each) Lemon halves, for rubbing 2 tbsp salt 2 tsp sweet paprika 1 tsp coarsely ground black pepper 1 tsp ground cinnamon 1 tsp ground cloves 1 tsp allspice 1 tsp ground cumin 100 ml olive oil Greek-style yoghurt and chopped flat-leaf parsley, to serve   Smoky eggplant sauce 2 large eggplants 1 garlic clove, grated 50 gm butter 25 gm plain flour 25 gm cornflour 320 ml milk 100 gm kasar, grated   Paprika butter 125 gm unsalted butter, softened 20 gm sweet paprika ½ tsp Turkish chilli


  • 01
  • Rinse duck under cold water and rub all over with lemon, pat dry with paper towels and place in a plastic container large enough to fit duck in a single layer. Combine salt and spices in a bowl, sprinkle over duck, then rub oil into duck and refrigerate 20-30 minutes to marinate.
  • 02
  • Remove duck from marinade and steam in a steamer over a pot of gently simmering water until tender (2-2½ hours). Set aside.
  • 03
  • Meanwhile, for smoky eggplant sauce, burn coals on a charcoal barbecue down to white embers and wait 15 minutes for embers to settle (or use a barbecue on medium heat). Pierce eggplant all over with a small knife, then barbecue until smoky and charred (10-15 minutes). Halve lengthways and scoop out flesh (discard skin), salt lightly and drain in a colander for 20-30 minutes. Purée eggplant with garlic in a food processor. Reserve. Stir butter and flours in a saucepan over medium heat until lightly browned (5-6 minutes). Add milk gradually, stirring continuously, bring to the boil and stir until very thick (5-6 minutes). Add puréed eggplant and cheese and stir until cheese melts (1-2 minutes). Season to taste and keep warm.
  • 04
  • For paprika butter, beat the butter with a spatula until pale and creamy, then add paprika and chilli and mix well. Set aside.
  • 05
  • Grill duck skin-side down in a char-grill pan over high heat, turning once, until charred (8-10 minutes skin side; 5 minutes flesh side). Serve duck on smoky eggplant sauce topped with yoghurt, paprika butter and parsley.

At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people

Additional Notes

Kasar is a Turkish cheese available from Turkish grocers and cheese shops. If it’s unavailable, substitute kasseri or Gruyère.

Drink Suggestion

Sevilen Narince from Turkey – a dry white wine with minerals and notes of white ripe peach and apricot.

Featured in

Aug 2016

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