Eggplant cream (Hunkar begendi)

by Marie Karam Khayat and Margaret Clark Keatinge (from Food from the Arab world)

In Turkey this unusual eggplant dish is called Sultan's Pleasure, for reasons that are obvious as soon as one samples it. Particularly delicious with chicken. Grilling the eggplants gives the vegetables an agreeable smokey flavor.

Grill eggplants whole without peeling them by holding over a flame and turning slowly, or prick skin in several places and set in hot oven. When the skin begins to break and the inside pulp feels soft, slip off the skin and scoop the pulp into a saucepan.

Mix lemon juice with pulp and simmer until very soft, stirring often (10-15 minutes).

Heat milk but do not allow to boil.

Meanwhile, melt butter, add flour to it and allow flour to brown.

Beat the butter and flour mixture into the eggplant. Slowly add several tablespons of hot milk and continue beating until the mixture resembles mashed potatoes.

Lastly add several tablespoons of grated cheese and cook several minutes more. Serve immediately.