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Sep 20

Baba Ganoush: Smokey Eggplant Dip

 

Baba Ganoush

 

 

I love eggplants, period. I like ’em in curries, I like ’em in casseroles, in lasagnas or in this case, as a smokey dip to have on toasty slices of bread. The smokey flavour of this dip comes from charring the eggplant over naked flame on the stove top until the skin is blackened; takes about 10 minutes.

 

Baba ganoush is an appetizer commonly served in the Lavantine region of Syria, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon and Palestine. Pita bread and other kinds of Arabian flat bread are dipped into the puree and eaten before the main course arrives … what a great way to whet one’s appetite. In other Middle Eastern countries this eggplant puree is known as mutabbal. Some versions involve pureeing the eggplant with tomatoes and onions, but I am using a more Egyptian-style recipe which only involves the charred eggplant, some tahini, garlic and salt. If you like you can experiment with other additives like yoghurt, ground cummin, chilli powder, lemon juice or spice mix.

 

The hardest bit is the charring bit and that’s it. The rest simply involves putting everything into a food processor and pushing a button. Take the eggplant and stab some holes into the skin with a fork, then place the vegetable onto the hob and turn on the gas. Use tongs to hold it in place and turn it around to char the skin all around. Don’t panic if certain bits start smoking … that’s supposed to happen (mind the smoke alarm!). Pretty soon you will start smelling the wonderful smokey aromas and you will start seeing the flesh softening. The longer you char the eggplant, the stronger the smokey flavour will be. So if you want a milder flavour then char for 5 – 7 mins then finish the rest of the cooking in a hot oven or microwave.

 

 

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I went the whole way and softened my eggplant entirely on the stove. Just to be sure I did a good job I placed the blackened vegetable in a heat-proof bowl, covered it with cling film and zapped it in the microwave for 1 minute. Then leave it there, covered tightly with the cling film, until cool enough to handle. The steam within will make it easier for you to peel off the burnt skin.

 

 

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Get all the skin off, otherwise it will make your puree bitter. Then split the eggplant in half and scrape out the seeds. Sprinkle salt over the flesh and place this into a food processor along with raw garlic (although I think adding roasted garlic would be fabulous as well), tahini, lemon zest, cayenne pepper and any other spices you wish. Blitz to a smooth puree, dish out into serving dishes and garnish with coriander leaves and the obligatory drizzle of olive oil.

 

 

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Baba Ganoush: Smokey Eggplant Dip

1 – 2 eggplants

2 cloves raw garlic

1 tbsp tahini

zest of 1 lemon

salt to taste

coriander to garnish

olive oil for dressing

** optional ingredients: natural yoghurt, ground cummin, nutmeg, mint, shallots, ground chilli powder

 

 

Serve this dip with warm flat breads, crisp bread, veggie sticks, or as part of a mezze spread along with other appetizers … dates, stuffed olives, grilled peppers, meatballs … etc. You can easily buy roasted eggplant spreads from the store, but seriously, there is nothing better than making it yourself at home with wholesome fresh ingredients … and it’ll probably be lower in fat and sodium too. Enjoy this recipe and share it with friends and family.

 

 

~ Enjoy! ~

 

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2 comments

  1. Sarah Volpe

    Looks so professional, I think I might dven have a go!

    1. bubviv

      Yes, you should. It’s dead easy!

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