One of my favourite recipes that we serve at Food for Thought is baba ghanoush. I love its smokey (vegetarian) goodness. It's great for dipping anything, I mean anything into it.
In some ways it seems to be the richer, smokier relative of hummus bi tahini. The name says it all. In Arabic, “baba” means father, daddy or is often used as a term of endearment. While “ghanoush” means spoiled or pampered.
This sinfully good appetiser is actually goof for you and is beloved throughout the Middle East.
Traditionally there are several different ways to make baba ghanoush. In Greece they call it Melitzanosalata and add onions to the mix, where as the Israeli Salat Hatzilim often has mayonnaise added to it for a richer taste. You’ve got options so be creative and make the dish your own.
If you are asking “What choices do I have?” Here are two main ones:
To grill or not to grill? Most agree that roasting or grilling the eggplant is must. I love the smokiness this adds to the dish, but if the flavour is too strong, you can broil or bake the eggplant.
Another key choice is whether or not to add extra spice? The addition of cumin is quite common and some recipes like to add something with a kick like cayenne pepper or chilli. It’s up to you, if you want to “pamper” your eggplant with more seasoning.
I’m giving you the recipe our ladies use. Classic and simple, it is a favourite of all our guests. Try it out or make it your own and enjoy.
This dish can easily be made vegan by substituting vegan yogurt or by leaving it out completely.
5 tablespoons of yogurt
4-5 tablespoons Tahina (sesame paste)
3 garlic cloves, pressed
Juice of half a lemon
Wash the eggplants and with a fork punch several small holes into them.
Grill the eggplant on the stove or grill until they are soft, about 20 min.
Take them off the stove and let them cool. You can put them in the fridge if you want them to cool quicker.
While you are waiting add all of the other ingredients together, seasoning well.
Once the eggplants have cooled, remove the skins and mash. Traditionally this is done by hand or with a fork. This keeps the texture, however you can of course use a mixer if you would like it smoother.
Combine the eggplant with the other ingredients.
Finish the dip with a bit of fresh olive oil drizzled on top and fresh parsley.
Serve with Arabic bread, pita, chips, etc. Enjoy!
Photographs by Ewa Podgórska