Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Authentic food from the Middle-East really attracts me to the highest point. The aromatic, deep, rich, elegant and refined Arab cuisine of this region of the world intrigues me as it reflects the mysterious, bountiful and exotic cultures that originated it...

As Claudia Roden's gorgeous cookbook "Arabesque" has ignited my interest for Middle-Eastern gastronomy, I now feel the urge to expand my cookery book collection in that direction. So when I came across the reviews of Greg Malouf's "Turquoise - A Chef's Travel In Turkey" on the net, I knew that I had to add it to my ongrowing (yet still frustratingly small) selection of cookbook.

My very thoughful boyfriend consulted my wishlist and decided to offer me this big book for my birthday (last Xmas). What a wonderful gift for a food lover like me! It might be quite expensive, but it sure is worth every penny spent!

Last week, I invited my good friend Corinne for lunch and as I know she is a food enthusiast as well as a Middle Eastern gastronomy admirer like me, I decided to treat her with a 100% Turkish menu based on three recipes taken from that fabulous "bible". I made a "Tomato Salad With Tarragon, Feta And Sumac Dressing", a dish called "Sultan's Delight" and some "Yogurt And Honey Sorbet" with "Cinnamon And Vanilla Flavored Apricot Compote". Both of us were delighted by the wonderful dishes that the Turkish cuisine offers and ate with much appetite!

"Sultan's Delight" is a delicate and luscious speciality consisting of a "Lamb Ragoût" which is served over a "Cheesy Eggplant Purrée". According to legend, this very dish was served to the Empress Eugénie de Montijo, wife of Napoléon III, Emperor of the French, on a visit to Istanbul in 1869. As the Sultan Abdülaziz I wanted to impress his guest, he had many of his favorite dishes prepared, including this one. Eugénie liked it so much that she sent her own French chef to the palace kitchens in order to get the recipe. Unfortunately, the Sultan's chef was reluctant to give away his secrets and said that "an imperial chef needs only his heart, his eyes and his nose". Anyway, this popular dish (one of the most important of the Turkish cuisine) would not be served in restaurants around Turkey or cooked in many home if the recipe hadn't been shared somewhere down the line...

If you are still skeptical about that classic dish's amazin
g exquisitness, a mouthful it will be enough to convert you and make you understand why Eugénie fell in love with it or why the Sultan's chef was so protective when it came to sharing it with people outside of the palace! This spicy tomato and lamb stew pairs wonderfully well with the creamy and rich eggplant puree in order to create a unique as well as heavenly dish.

~ Sultan's Delight ~
Recipe by Greg Malouf "Turquoise: A Chef's Travel In Turkey" and adapted by Rosa @ Rosa's Yummy Yums.

Serves 4.

Ingredients for the "Lamb Ragoût":
700g Lamb (from the leg or shoulder)
40g Unsalted butter
2 Medium-big purple onions, cut into 1cm dice
3-4 Cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 Tsps Fresh oregano, chopped
1 Tsp Honey
2 Large vine-ripened tomatoes, skinned, seeded and diced
1 Tbs Hot Turkish red pepper paste (see remarks)
1 Tsp Sea salt
1/2 Tsp Freshly ground black pepper
250-300ml Chicken Stock
Flat-leaf parsley, chopped, to garnish
Ingredients for the "Cheesy Eggplant Purée":
2-3 Medium-big eggplants
90ml Thick cream
100g Gruyère, Cheddar, Kasseri or Comté cheese, grated
Good pinch of ground nutmeg

Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Squeeze of lemon juice

Method for the "Lamb Ragoût":
1. Trim the lamb of any fat and sinew and cut into 3 cm cubes.
2. Melt the butter in a large, heavy-based casserole dish over medium heat, then brown the lamb
all over and remove from the pan.
3. If necessary, add a little more butter to the pan, t
hen add the onion, garlic and oregano and sweat over a low heat for about 5 minutes.
4. Add the honey,
then increase the heat and cook for another couple of minutes.
5. Stir in the tomat
oes, pepper paste, salt, pepper and stock, the bring to the boil. Stir well and return the lamb to the pan.
6. Cover the pan, lower the heat and leave to slimmer very gently for 1-
1 1/2 hours, or until the lamb is tender and the liquid has reduced to a thick sauce.
Method for the "Eggplant Purée":
7. Prick the eggplants all over with a fork and sit them directly on the naked flame of your stove top. Set the flame low-medium and cook for at least 15 minutes, turning constantly until the eggplants are charred all over and soft (see remarks).
8. Remove from the flame and place on a small wire rack in a sealed container or plastic bag so the juices can drain off. Allow the eggplants to cool for about 10 minutes.
9.When the eggplants are cool, gently peel away the skin from the flesh, taking care to remove every little bit or the purée will have a bitter burnt flavour.
10. Put the eggplants into a bowl of acidulated water and
leave for 5 minutes-this soaks away any lingering bits of burnt skin and turns the flesh pale and creamy.
11. Drain the eggplants in a colander and squeeze them gently to extract any moisture, then chop very finely.
12. Bring the cream to the boil in a small saucepan and simmer for a couple of minutes to reduce slightly.
13. Stir in the cheese and nutmeg, then season with salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice.
14. Add the chopped eggplant and beat lightly to combine.

15. Taste and adjust the seasonings as required.

As I had not hot Turkish red pepper sauce, I used "Sambal Oelek".
If you don't have a gas stove, put the eggplants on a baking pan covered with parchment paper and bake them in the oven, at 250° C/480° F for
about 40-50 minutes (turn them over after 25 minutes). You won't get quite the same smoky flavour, but the effect is reasonable.
If you wish, you can thicken the eggplant puree by using cornstarch (mix 1 1/4 Tbs in cream before boiling).

Serving suggestions:
To serve, spoon the eggplant purée into the centre of a warmed serving platter. Make a well in the centre of the purée and spoon in the lamb.
Garnish with parsley and serve hot with a salad, Ekmek or Pide bread.


~ Délice Du Sultan ~
Recette par Greg Malouf "Turquoise: A Chef's Travel In Turkey", adaptée par Rosa @ Rosa's Yummy Yums.

Pour 4 personnes.

Ingrédients pour le "Ragoût d'Agneau":
700g d'Agneau (gigot ou épaule)
40g de Beurre non-salé
2 Oignons rouges (assez gros), pelés et coupés en cubes d'un 1cm
3-4 Gousses d'ail, finement hachées

2 CC d'Origan frais, haché
1 CC de Miel

2 Grosses tomates, épeluchées, vidées et coupées en cubes
1 CS de Pâte de piments forte turque (voir remarques)
1 CC de Sel de mer
1/2 CC de Poivre noir fraîchement moulu

250-300ml de Bouillon de poulet
Persil plat, haché, pour garnir
Ingrédients pour la "Purée d'Aubergine Au Fromage":

2-3 Aubergines, moyennemnt grosses
90ml de Crème double

100g de Gruyère, Cheddar, Kasseri ou Comté, rapé
Une bonne pincée de noix de muscade moulue
Sel de mer
Poivre noir, fraîchement moulu
Quelques gouttes de jus de citron

Méthode pour le "Ragoût d'Agneau":
1. Enlever le gras, les tendons et nerfs de l'agneau et couper la viande en morceaux/cubes de 3 cm cubes.
2. Dans une large casserole à fond épais, faire fondre le beurre à feu moyen, pu
is faire brunir la viande de chaque côté et la déposer dans une assiette
3. Si nécessaire, ajouter un peu plus de beurre dans la casserole, puis ajouter l'oignon, l'ail et l'origan. Faire suer sur feu doux pendant environ 5 minutes.
4. Ajouter le miel, puis augmenter la température et cuire pendant une à deux minutes supplémentaires.
5. Ajouter les tomates, le pâte de piments, le sel, le poivre et le bouillon. Bien mélanger et porter à ébullition.

6. Couvrir la casserole, baisser le feu et faire mijoter pendant 1 à 1 1/2 heures, ou jusqu'à ce que la viande soit tendre, que le liquide se soit évaporé et que la sauce soit épaisse.

Méthode pour la "Purée d'Aubergine":
7. A l'aide d'une fourchette piquer les aubergines un peu partout et les placer directement sur la flame (feu moyen) du fourneau et les cuire au moins 15 minutes en les retournant constamment jusqu'à ce qu'elles soient bien grillées de tous les côtés (voir remarques).
8. Retirer du feu et les déposer, emballées dans du papier journal pendant 10 minutes.

9. Quand les aubergines sont plus trop chaudes, enlever la peau de manière délicate et sans en laisser autrement la purée aura un goût amer.
10. Mettre les aubergines dans un bol d'eau froide acidulée et laisser tromper 5 minutes afin que les petits bouts de peau partent et que la chair devienne pâle et crémeuse.
11. Egoutter les aubergines dans un chinois et bien les presser afin qu'il ne reste plus de liquide, puis hacher la chair très finement.

12. Dand une casserole moyenne, porter la crème à ébullition et faire mijoter quelques minutes afin qu'elle se réduise un peu.
13. Ajouter le fromage et bien mélanger, puis assaisonner avec la noix de muscade, le sel et le poivre ainsi qu'avec quelques gouttes de jus de citron.

14. Ajouter les aubergines hachées et battre afin d'obtenir une purrée homogène.
15. Goûter et ajuster l'assaisonnement si nécessaire.


Comme je n'avais pas de pâte de piments forte turque, j'ai utilisé du "Sambal Oelek".
Si vous n'avez pas de fourneau à gaz, alors mettez les aubergines dans le four (milieu) à 250°C et cuisez-les pendant 40-50 minutes, en les retourn
ant après 25 minutes. Vous n'obtiendrez pas le même goût fumé que lorsqu'elles sont grillées directement sur le feu, mais le résultat sera plus que correct.
Vous pouvez épaissir votre puree en utilisant de la maizena (mélanger 1 1/4 CS avec la crème avant cuisson).

Idées de présentation:
Mettez la purée au centre de votre assiette, puis faites un puits et mettez-y quelques cuillères de ragoût d'agneau. Garnissez avec le persil et servez chaud avec une salade ainsi qu'avec du pain Ekmek ou du pain Pide.


  1. Coucou!

    Elle est terrible cette jolie recette! quant aux photos, même à huit heures du matin, c'est une véritable incitation à la gourmandise!

    Merci :)

  2.'ve outdone yourself! The ragout looks tempting and I def need to make that puree! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Voilà une belle recette, en plus avec une légende. Je vais l'essayer : j'ai vérifié, j'ai tous les ingrédients nécessaires, sauf la purée de piment turque mais puis qu'on peut remplacer...

  4. MARIE-CLAIRE: merci! J'espère qu'elle te plaira... Oui, la purrée de piment peut être remplacée. Tu me diras comment c'était?

  5. j'ai un livre de recettes turques et elle y est aussi, un peu différente mais pas trop !
    je la tenterai puisque tu dis que c'est bon, mais quand il fera plus frais :)

  6. I love Middle Eastern cuisine, your dishes look delicious!

  7. Very nice Recipes! Looks great and tasty..Greets Dirk

  8. Je suis comme toi,j'adore la cuisine orientale riche en saveurs.
    Ton âgoût est superbe.Miam.

  9. Un plat superbe, un delight justement ;-)
    Bonne journée

  10. The name ceratinly fits the dish. I think it will be any Sultan's delight!

  11. Wow what a name :) new to me and certainly looks exotic!

  12. ..bien le bonjour Rosa!!..

    .. je vais t'avouer que j'ai de la difficulté avec l'agneau mais à regarder ces images j'ose y piquer ma fourchette quand même lol!!..

    ..bonne journée à toi;)

    ~nancy xx

  13. These look delicious! And what an exotic name! Guests will just die!! :P

  14. Quel depaysement, on se croirait sur le bord du Bosphore.

    Merci pour l'evasion, Rosa

  15. Quel beau voyage que tu nous proposes aujourd'hui! J'adore la cuisine de cette région...
    Félicitations, tout est absolument parfait!

    Bonne journée

  16. Middle Eastern cuisine definitely attracts me too! And this does sounds absolutely delicious!

  17. Now, I think I need to add to my book collections! I've been interested in learning more about Middle Eastern and Turkish cuisine. The sauce in the ragout sounds incredible.

  18. Une recette magnifique et des photos toutes aussi sublimes.

  19. ça doit être drôlement bon !

  20. Rosa, I love this type of food, and with the name...Sultan delight!! sounds fantastic!, nice recipe!xxGloria

  21. Wow...
    I love to see this very Turkish dish on your site Rosa and please continue to cook and share Turkish recipes... I believe you will find a lot of dishes which taste great just like "Hunkar Begendi."

  22. Yum...the perfect summer dinner menu, light and tasty :)

  23. If its delightful for Sultan, it will be heavenly delightful for us too.

  24. ça a vraiment l'air dé me demande si je n'essaierais pas avec du veau puisqu'on ne mange pas d'agneau...

  25. Looks great! Its better to have a small cook book collection than a ferociously large one! I take cook books out of the library and if i like it ALOT i buy it, if i like it a little, i make some photo copies, if its stinks, i return it! these dishes look worth the purchase!

  26. miam ! cette purée d'aubergines !

  27. Rosa, what an extraordinary post. I loved the history, the context and the recipe itself. Simply lovely photographs, as well.

  28. Rosa, this is a feast for the senses. I love the cheeses you've used and the lamb and eggplant, yum!

  29. Very Lovely Site!!!
    I am so glad you stopped by so I could find you....

    I hope you come by again. I will be back!!!

  30. I should make this turkish dish to impress my Turkish friend : ) Sounds a wonderful ragout!

  31. Positively...Sultan delights Rosa!! Dreamlike...and I love the contrasts in colors yummmm

    All the best,


  32. This all looks delicious! I'm dying for eggplant purée now!

  33. Wow Rosa, this is one of my favorite cuisine's too! Your friend was so lucky to enjoy a lunch like this with you! I am going to have to check the links to the other recipes too! The ice cream sounds especially good!

  34. name is pretty and love the dish very much. new to me but gonna prep soon.

  35. This looks just lovely. There is so much lovely cuisine and flavours around the world. I know I don't tap into those as much as I should. Thanks for sharing!

  36. Magnifique recette, bravo ce doit être excellent ! bises

  37. I love reading about dishes that have a rich history. Thanks for sharing Rosa!

  38. J,ai déja mangé et j'ai encore faim quand je regarde tes photos:P

  39. J'aimerais tellement ce livre, peut-être un jour. Ton repas est simplement délicieux.

  40. Your friend was very lucky for having such a wonderful meal.

  41. Just the cover of this book is an invitation !
    Really want to be invited to your table Rosa ! This sultan's delight make me drool...!

  42. Ta purée d'aubergine m'interpelle particulièrement.

  43. Une belle recette exotique que tu nous fait partager.
    Bisous, Doria

  44. this is truly an exotic meal! looks exquisite. i would love to try it.. if only we are in the same country, we can a global cuisine potluck!

  45. haha, glad you liked the idea! imagine having avid food bloggers from all over the world gather at different country each year for a world record international potluck. maybe we can hold it next to wherever the political G7 group hold its power meeting. our message will be spread peace and unity thru' food, not power and weapons. ok, my imagination is running wild. btw, switzerland is truly, truly blessed & gorgeous. i absolutely love it since the last time i was there!

    anyway, have a great day! :D

  46. Indeed, I agree: what an exotic meal!!!

  47. if you do come, you can hit the whole 'stretch' - S'pore, M'sia and Thailand for the 3 great cuisines. i can be yr food guide for S'pore & M'sia :)

  48. Wow, Rosa, this is incredible! I love the story and the lamb and cheesy eggplant are divine. Beautiful recipes that I would so love to try! And I must have these cookbooks! (I love Claudia Roden)

  49. Roas, I made Hunkar last year and when the egplant is char-grilled...this dish becomes sublime. Glad you enjoyed it.

  50. Wonderful meal and a great sounding cookbook. I saw a show on Turkksh cusine that mad emy mouth water the other day.

  51. Cela m'a l'air d'être excellent, superbe

  52. The lamb and the eggplant sound so good together!

  53. Oh oui, ca c'est ... sultanesque !

  54.'ve outdone this recipe :)
    Thanks for sharing. :)

  55. ein tolles Gericht, ein guter Griff ind die arabische Gewürzkiste. Liebe Grüsse.

  56. emmm! I love middle-eastern food. I love the spices in their dishes and their breads are yummy!

  57. chaque fois que j'arrive chez toi , je salive devant tes photos toutes plus bellesles unes que les autres
    cette recette à l'air à tomber , je comprends que le sultan n'ai pû y résister

  58. Mmmm so good. We're going to pick up lamb this weekend because of you.

  59. Quelle patience tu as pour nous offrir régulièrement tes recettes dans les 2 langues!
    Tu as éveillé ma curiosité alors j'ai même utilisé un traducteur pour le début de ton billet afin de connaître l'histoire de cette recette.
    J'ai voyagé de mon siège en te lisant et en imaginant les parfums qui se dégagent de ce charmant plat!
    Bises et belle journée

  60. Ce ragoût doit être parfumé à souhait!

  61. This sounds absolutely divine, Rosa! I can't wait to have time to give it a try. I love authentic middle eastern food as well.

  62. Elle ne laisserait personne indifférent cette recette du sultan!!!

  63. I'm a huge fan of Middle Eastern cuisine too. I have Arabesque and love it!

    Your Sultan's Delight looks absolutely heavenly! This recipe must go on my "to do" list. It's only 10:00 in the morning here, and I am craving some!

  64. There will always be a special place in my heart for Sultan's Delight. Many years ago, I prepared a "first" Thanksgiving dinner for a Turkish family I happened upon living in deplorable conditions in back of a gas station. I brought them home with me and cooked them a Thanksgiving meal. (a wish they expressed to me)

    To my surprise, months later, when they got a better place to live, they shared how to make yogurt and Sultan's Delight.

    You have "served" Sultan's Delight exquisitely Rosa, thank you:)

    Claudia Roden's Coffee book is another delightful book.

  65. I can practically taste this just from the pictures. I want to just pull up a chair and dig in.

  66. Ca a l'air tellemement délicieux. Merci pour cette succulente recette!

  67. superbe cette assiette, j'arrive de suite s'il t'en reste!!!

  68. I love Middle-Eastern food, packed full of wonderful flavours. This recipe looks and sounds fantastic!

  69. quel nom enchanteur pour un plat qui l'est tout autant... je n'aime pas l'agneau mais je verrais bine une autre viande

  70. Mmm, I love lamb and this looks like a great way to cook it. It'll be nice to try something different than my usual curried lamb.

  71. Je découvre la cuisine Turque grâce à toi. Cette purée d'aubergines tombe plutôt bien. J'adore ça.

  72. It is very nice, i love it, i love ur site...