24 February 2013

Baba ganoush

Recently I've had several Lebanese dishes and have become keen to explore this cuisine further. I've already tried hummus, which seems to be a staple.


Another staple seems to be the aubergine dip baba ganoush. Oddly enough, the one I had in a restaurant seems to be quite different from the recipes I found on the internet - it contained green pepper, red onion and tomato, all very finely diced. The result is that the dip is both creamy from the roasted aubergines and has a fresh crunchiness to it from the green pepper. Thus I decided to try and replicate this.

6 largish aubergines
1 medium sized green pepper
2 large tomatoes
1 medium sized red onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp lemon juice
1.5 tbsp tahini paste
salt and pepper to taste
fresh finely cut coriander


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 240 degrees C. Wash the aubergines and trim the green bits around their "handles".
    Pierce each aubergine through with a skewer all around, then place on a rack in a pan and let bake in the oven until they go dark and soft, let the skin turn to charcoal even. This will take some 45 minutes - 1 h and the aubergines may need to be turned a couple of times.
  2. Take out the aubergines and set aside to cool. In the mean time, wash the pepper and tomatoes and peel the onion and garlic. Cut the pepper and tomatoes in half, then remove the stalks. Dice them finely along with the onion. I recommend using a mandolin or an alligator cutter.
  3. When the aubergines have cooled enough to handle (they will sink in a bit), carefully hold each by its "handle" and peel off the skin, removing any charcoal pieces as far as possible. When all aubergines are peeled, cut off the "handles" and place in a deep large bowl together with the garlic, lemon juice, tahini, salt and pepper and mash with a blender.
  4. Add the finely diced vegetables and coriander and stir in well. Let stand in the fridge for a couple of hours, check the seasoning and adjust if needed.

I'd only bought three aubergines and would normally have roasted them in my pepper roaster, however I was curious to see how it would work in the oven. The pepper roaster is faster I think and also creates the charcoaled skins, I wasn't able to achieve this in my oven. Perhaps putting the aubergines under the grill towards the end might have worked better. What is absolutely vital is to pierce the aubergines before the roasting/baking. Very, very important, otherwise they will explode as the internal juices start boiling and the rest of the day will have to be spent cleaning the oven. So pierce! This also goes for the pepper roaster and it's even harder to clean.

I also opted to dice the aubergines, so I didn't achieve the creaminess I was after and I forgot the coriander completely, which probably explains why it didn't taste like the stuff in the restaurant. Possibly some more lemon juice and tahini wouldn't hurt either. However, after resting this dish in the fridge for a couple of hours, it tasted quite nice anyway. And the only fat in it was from the tahini, so rather healthy.

Lundulph and I had another "myskväll" on Friday evening, with sticks of carrot, cucumber and colourful peppers, pita breads, hummus and this baba ganoush. I'd flavoured some of the hummous as before and again we ate quite a bit more than intended. So moreish!

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