Friday, August 03, 2007

a favourite appetizer

seen on every mezze (appetizer) table, this is hardly anything new or novel. rather, it is a just a good and easy-to-make recipe for something that almost everyone enjoys when it comes to middle eastern type fare.

part of its charm is the fact that it is made from roasted eggplant which gives it its characteristic smoky flavour. i prefer using a grill pan on top the stove or the barbeque to do this but you can also do it in the oven with okay results. in addition, it works perfectly if you're so lucky as to own a gas stove, where it can be roasted over the hobs. just pierce it in several spots to avoid exploding eggplants bombs!

whichever way you choose, the results will be rewarding.

baba gannoush (moutabal)

perfect for serving at parties, as part of a buffet or just to have on hand for everyday noshing, the following roasted eggplant dip is always well-appreciated. this recipe makes enough for a few people, so you may want to double or triple it to serve a crowd.

serves 4 - 6 people, approx.


1 good sized eggplant, roasted

4 - 5 tbsp tahina (sesame seed) paste
juice of 1/2 large lemon or 1 small one*
3/4 - 1 tsp salt
1 large clove garlic*
1/2 - 1 tsp sugar* (optional)

4 tbsp olive oil
1/4 c chopped parsley

*note that this may not seem like much in comparison to other recipes but i find less is more, so to speak. there is nothing worse than only tasting the predominating harsh flavour of garlic and lemon, with no roasted eggplant in the spotlight. use these two ingredients judiciously; you can always add more later. too much of anything ruins a dish, especially after all your hard work. i also add sugar to balance the acidity, especially when the lemons are considerably acidic.


roast the eggplant and remove all the pulp. try to get rid of as many seeds as you can. (choose a male eggplant to begin with!). i like to finely chop the pulp with a knife and make it by hand. you can do it in a processor buy why waste extra time washing up unnecessary things?

mash the garlic with 1/4 tsp kosher salt. it should be a paste. this is easily done in a mortar or the back of a knife.

place the chopped pulp in a bowl and add the tehina paste and mashed garlic. mix it well. it will turn a beige colour.

add the lemon juice and oil. mix again.

add salt and sugar (i use about 3/4 - 1 tsp of each) and the chopped parsley. taste and adjust with more seasonings, oil and/or lemon.

mix well and refrigerate until serving.

recipe note: to add extra richness to this, though not traditional, you can also add 2 to 3 tbsp of mayonnaise.

serve with pita or crackers or crudités (vegetables).



Emily DeVoto, Ph.D., said...


burekaboy — said...

;-) ;-)

LOL, i just "seconded" that.

Nafeesah said...

I cannot see the photos for some reason :( All of the others for the other recipes are showing up though.

I've always wanted to try a baba ganoush recipe but never really got around to it...

Also, how in the world did the Baba gannoush name come about?

burekaboy — said...

hi nafeesah - thanks for telling me. i saw it was acting weird before but i thought it was just my computer. blogger is acting strangely again and messing up my posts. i tried to fix it; hopefully it works. if not, i'll have to rewrite and re upload the pix again :o

the baba gannoush is very easy to make -- give it a shot and see if you like it. it's very, very popular, so .... :)

not sure where the name comes from. i'll let you know if i find out. lol, you'd probably have more luck figuring it out than i!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

I love that too! Baba Ganoush is an awesome mezze, especially when eaten with fresh bread... Yours looks yummy!

burekaboy — said...

hey rosa - thanks.

yup, either challah or pita for me with this one :))

Pink Granite said...

I'm so glad you posted this! I need to make some lovely smoky baba very soon! I have good luck slicing the eggplants down the middle lengthwise. Then I place them cut side down on a foil covered sheet pan. I put a few slits through the skin side and then place them under the gas broiler set to high. I rotate them regularly.
- Lee

burekaboy — said...

hiya lee :) - i've never tried roasting eggplants that way; i'll give it a try to check it out. if i do them in the oven, i just roast them whole and turn them every so often until they're done. i guess your way, they cook faster as they're cut in half. my first preference is grilling them though -- love the smoky charred flavour!

hope you like the recipe, if you use this one. lol, i guess you'll be FORCED to make pita again to go with it! ;p

Vidya said...

The only place I have eaten Baba Gannoush is at a lebanese restaurant and I don't think I tasted sugar in that version. I'm not a big fan of sweet and salt flavors in the same dish, so I'll try your version without the sugar. It will be my first purchase of parsley, I'm partial to cilantro.

burekaboy — said...

vidya - hi there :) sugar is not usually in the ingredients but i always add some to balance the flavour of the lemon juice. added in the right amount (to taste), it is not perceptible but does calm down the acidity of the lemon.

as for parsley, make sure to buy the flatleaf italian one, not the curly leafed french. the excess can be chopped, placed in a ziploc and frozen to use when needed. [i've never seen cilantro added to baba gannoush; could be good, though]. note that the dish tastes better after sitting overnight in the fridge.

Vidya said...

Thanks for parsley tip.

burekaboy — said...

for nafeesah & other interested readers - according to a friend who speaks and teaches arabic, baba ghannoush means indulged/spoiled father (baba = father; gannouj/sh= indulged or spoiled). how it got that name??? still looking into that one. i'm sure there's more than one explanation as to why this appetizer is called this way.

Nafeesah said...

Oh is it??!! I faintly recall reading something about a spoilt king and eggplants so I wonder whether it had something to do with this? lol :p Thanks BB.

burekaboy — said...

nafeesah - welcome. as i said, there's probably multiple explanations for its name -- wouldn't be surprised if it involved a king or sultan somewhere! :))