Monday, September 01, 2008

Baba ghannouj

Baba ghanouj: One of our favourite dips when there are too many melanzane. This recipe is the first one I ever used, however, since then, I've (never made it the same way twice) adjusted the levels of everything. I prefer to roast the eggplant whole until it collapses, add more olive oil to the actual dip and completely omit the water. And some days that's different again, I experiment and use more lemon for tartness, tahini for earthiness or less of everything to better taste the star ingredient. Just don't be shy with the salt.

Adapted from "Lebanese Cuisine" by Madelain Farah
1 large eggplant (Western, "globe" variety or Italian works here)
Olive oil to taste
1-2 large cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
2-4 tablespoons tahini (roasted sesame) paste
1/4 cup water
Juice of 1/2 or whole lemon, to taste

optional garnishes: chopped parsley, pomegranate seeds, black olives

Preheat oven to 200-225C.  You can simply pierce the skin of your eggplant(s) and roast whole or you can slice the eggplant in half, lengthwise, and place on a baking sheet.  Either way, roast until flesh is extremely tender and thoroughly cooked, about 1 hour.  If you've sliced your eggplant, check it frequently and if the halves seem to be drying out excessively, brush with olive oil. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly. (They can also be roasted in advance and put in the fridge overnight.)

With a spoon, scoop/scrape out flesh and place into the bowl of a food processor (a stick blender also works well).  Add garlic and salt, and puree gradually, using pulse setting.  Add tahini and pulse. Finally add lemon juice, and pulse-purée.  Taste for salt and tartness, and adjust according to preference.  Drizzle with more olive oil if you like.

Use any fresh bread, pitta or other flatbread you like to mop up this wonderfully savoury dip.

4 comments:

Katie Barlow said...

mmmm...i love eggplant....can't wait to try this!

gaga said...

It's like hummus but with eggplant! This looks wonderful.

paxye said...

One of my favourite dishes...

I add a bit more Tahini though and I also add a few drops of liquid smoke which just completes it!

Mary said...

Hi Katie, this is tasty, hope it turns out for you!

Hello gaga, pretty much the same method and similar flavourings but these can be tweaked to suit your preference.

Hi paxye, tahini is essential but I don't add as much as I originally did because my partner isn't keen on it. Although I've given the recipe as I would make it in an oven, we generally make this over the coals. I agree, just a hint of smokiness along with the earthiness of the eggplant makes for great stuff!