Baba Ganoush is a flavorful Middle Eastern eggplant dip that makes a wonderful appetizer. It can be spread on sandwiches, served with veggies or flatbreads or simply as a side dish for a meal.
Baba Ganoush is a simple, delicious Middle Eastern Eggplant Dip that is full of complexity and depth.
Baba ghanoush (in Arabic: بابا غنوج) is a Lebanon dish of mashed cooked eggplant mixed with tahini (sesame seeds paste), olive oil, and various seasonings. It is a typical starter, often eaten as a dip with khubz (bread), and is sometimes added to other dishes. The bābā is an Arabic word that means “father” and is also a term of endearment, while ghannūj could be a personal name. The word combination is also interpreted as “father of coquetry” or “indulged/pampered daddy” or “spoiled old daddy“. It is not certain whether the word bābā refers to the eggplant or to an actual person indulged by this treat.
Since the main ingredient for baba ganoush, is eggplant, be careful to choose the best eggplants with a smooth, shiny skin that are uniform in colour and heavy for their size. To test for ripeness, lightly press a finger against the skin. If it leaves an imprint, the eggplant is ripe. Choose smaller eggplants as they tend to be sweeter, less bitter, have thinner skin. Eggplants have a dimple at the blossom end. The dimple can be very round or oval in shape. The round ones seem to have more seeds and tend to be less meaty, so select the oval dimpled eggplant.
The traditional preparation method is for the eggplant to be broiled over an open flame before peeling so that the pulp is soft and has a smoky taste. Since we don’t have access to cooking over a wood burning fire, we simply baked them. We cut each eggplant in half lengthways, then using a sharp paring knife we cut1-2 inch deep slits over each half eggplant. Cutting slits into the eggplant ensures even cooking.
For concentrating the flavour of the eggplants, let the eggplants rest in a strainer for a few minutes and stir it to release even more moisture.
We prefered to emulsify the eggplant by hand, instead of using a food processor, because it produces a chunkier dip with a pleasant textural contrast. Baba ganoush can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- 3 eggplants
- 60 ml lemon juice
- 3 cloves garlic
- 60 g tahini
- 45 ml olive oil
- 2 tbsp parsley
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cumin
- Prepare all the ingredients
- Cut the eggplants in half lengthways, then using a sharp paring knife slit each half eggplant 1-2 inch deep.Arrange on a baking sheet, sprinkle salt on top and drizzle with olive oil.Bake in a preheated oven at 180°C-350°F for 30-45 minutes.
- Meanwhile, mince the garlic cloves.In a bowl, add tahini, lemon juice, salt, cumin and mix.Reserve for later.
- Once the eggplants are cooked, transfer to a bowl, wrap with foil and let sit for 15-20 minutes.Carefully scoop out soft flesh with a spoon and transfer to a strainer set in a large bowl.Let them drain for about ten minutes.Transfer the drained eggplants to a bowl and crush them vigorously with a fork until eggplants break down into a rough paste, about 2-3 minutes.
- To the mashed eggplants, add minced garlic, tahini and lemon juice mixture, the rest of olive oil and parsley.Stir all the ingredients together, the dip should become pale and creamy.
- Transfer to a serving bowl, drizzle with olive oil and serve with vegetables for dipping.