Photos by Justin De Souza for Mangal II

Of the many Turkish ocakbasi in East London’s Dalston, Mangal II is probably the best-known, and was the first of its kind when it first opened in the early ‘90s. Run by brothers Ferhat and Sertaç Dirik, who inherited the restaurant from their father Ali, the restaurant puts a modern twist on traditional Anatolian food from the charcoal grill. 

This güveç (named after the earthenware cooking pots) is a stew with richly-developed flavours drawn out through a layered, low-and-slow cooking method. It works well on the hob, but cook it over coals for that signature ocakbasi smokiness.

“Based on a traditional recipe, this lamb and aubergine stew is typically enjoyed with fresh herbs and pickled vegetables, served with soft buttery pilav rice. This is a recipe that gets better the second or third day it’s had, so don’t feel bad if you can’t finish it in one go.”

— Sertaç Dirik, head chef at Mangal II

Mangal II’s Güveç (lamb and aubergine stew)


2—2.5k deboned lamb shoulder
1 medium aubergine
2 tomatoes
1large brown onion
1 Romario pepper (or 2 red bell peppers)
1 green Turkish sivri pepper (or any mild green chili)
1 bulb of garlic
Salt and pepper
Vegetable oil (or another neutral oil)
1.5L water
To serve: pickles, fresh herbs, and a white bun or steamed rice


Slice your lamb shoulder into 6 equally-sized pieces, making sure to slice off any bits of fat and save them for later.

Before you prepare your vegetables, allow your Casserole dish to heat up on a medium/high heat.

Peel the aubergine and roughly chop it into 3/4cm pieces. Season them with salt and allow to sweat whilst you prepare the rest of your vegetables.

Slice both peppers in half and deseed, then roughly chop them.

Peel your tomatoes using a serrated knife: slice the top away so it sits straight, and then trim from bottom to top. Proceed to roughly chop.

Peel your onion and roughly chop.

Finally, slice your whole garlic bulb through the middle at its widest part.

When your pot is warm/hot, turn up the heat and add some neutral oil (vegetable oil is fine), and place the trimmed fat in to render down until golden brown. Remove and set aside on a tray.

In the same pot, start browning your pieces of lamb shoulder until you have a nice, even colour all over, then remove from the pan and place onto your tray with the fat. Repeat this until all your meat is browned off.

Next, add your onions, peppers and garlic and allow them to soften in your pan with the rendered fat. Once they have softened, add the tomatoes. Season with salt and allow everything to soften for a minute, stirring occasionally.

Now place your browned meat on top of your vegetables, and add more salt to season along with a heaped spoon of crushed black pepper. Cover with half of your water. Place a piece of parchment paper or foil over, then cover with a lid and cook over a medium—high heat for around 2.5 hours.

After 2.5 hours check your pot. Your vegetables should be browned off on the bottom of your pan. Add the rest of the water to deglaze and mix everything together well. Allow to cook for another 30 minutes on a medium—high heat to finish.

This Güveç is best served with pickles and fresh herbs and a white bun or steamed rice.