Smoky Eggplant Puree
(Turkish Hunkar Begendi)


Prep time: About 15 minutes
Cooking time: About 1 hour

Makes: 4 - 6 servings




  1. Wash eggplants and poke them full of holes, leaving skins on.
  2. Broil eggplants 5 minutes. Give each a 1/4 turn. Broil another 5 minutes.
  3. Repeat this procedure for a total of 25 - 30 minutes,
    or until the eggplants have collapsed and are soft.
        NOTE: As an alternative, you could bake the eggplants 40 minutes at 350 deg.
  4. Put them in a colander in the sink to cool 10 minutes. This will allow some of the bitter fluid to drip out.
  5. When cool enough to handle, peel the eggplants.
    Carefully save the pulp just under the skins. That's where the smoky flavor is.
  6. Mix the eggplant pulp and lemon juice in a saucepan. Simmer 10 minutes, stirring often.
  7. Heat the olive oil in a small saucepan. When hot, add the flour and stir constantly for 1 minute to make a roux.
  8. Add the milk and simmer another minute to heat the milk, constantly stirring.
  9. Stir in the drained eggplant pulp. Break up any large clumps.
  10. Stir in the grated kasseri (or parmesan) cheese. Cook 4 minutes while stirring.
    It should look like mashed potatoes when finished.

Good served with Turkish meatballs with tomato sauce or with broiled lamb chops.

Adapted from recipes in the Jan. 12, 2006 San Francisco Chronicle and in "The Sultan's Kitchen" by Özcan Ozan, 1998.


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