Baba Ganoush | Lebanese Aubergine Dip

Monday, March 14, 2016

I am kinda losing the urge to blog and I really have no explanation for it because I still do enjoy cooking and making new dishes. Just that when it comes to writing down the details, I simply procrastinate. I think it is a sign of me getting into the "I am bored of this" phase. But I really don't want to kill this affair which has given me reasons to be happier. So here I am fighting my urge to slip away... and to keep the blog alive... to share my culinary stories... to listen to you...and just get back on track. :-)

Aubergine or eggplant or what most Indians know as brinjal is one veggie I abhorred if I see it floating in the curry as that slimy thingy puts me off. I used to pick and discard and continue to eat! So how come I am blogging about a dish where aubergine is the star??? Read on..

Baba Ganoush is a dip made with eggplants and sesame paste and is home to Levant and Middle Eastern cuisine. I am sharing one of the Lebanese method adapted from this book by Mona Hamadeh. This book is my first cookbook and I loved everything from its cover, to intro, to the history and every small details of food in Lebanese cuisine. The author Mona has done a tremendous job in sharing the traditional recipes.


Baba Ganoush | Lebanese Aubergine Dip

Baba Ganoush is served as the part of Maza or starter spread along with large number of bite sized dishes. The first time I had it was just a couple of months ago at my favourite Lebanese Restaurant - Ostorah here in Yanbu that too out of sheer curiosity. As this is the only restaurant we frequent for a dine-in experience, we have already tried most of their dishes. Baba Ganoush was listed too but I had no idea what it is made of, nor their menu card had any details. We placed the order anyways as the name was very interesting. F and I tasted it along with their signature Pita breads, what happened next was unbelievable! we loved it instantly!!!  Quickly I took my phone to find what it is made with, - EGGPLANTS! We both were so surprised, like I couldn't even make out that it had eggplants - which may be because I have forgotten how it tasted! :-D

As it is an aubergine recipe, I never thought of giving it a try even though this recipe is the first recipe in the book. But here I am sharing it on my blog! You will need to make or buy Tahini paste to make Baba Ganoush. Tahini is made with white sesame seeds. I made my own tahini using this recipe which is so easy and worth than store bought ones. I strongly recommend that you make your own Tahini if you can get white sesame seeds. Tahini will be bitter, but it is added to dishes along with lemon juice to balance the taste.

I made Pita breads to serve with Baba ganoush and F enjoyed it so much and I enjoyed watching him eat. Of course I had some non-veg curry along side. But most of the times, I don't enjoy eating after an elaborate cooking! Does that happen to you? anyways.. here is how I made Baba Ganoush...

Baba Ganoush | Lebanese Aubergine Dip 

Yields: 1 cup 

INGREDIENTS: 

1 medium aubergine/eggplant
Juice of half a lemon 
1 tablespoon tahini 
salt to taste
2 garlic cloves crushed 
1 to 2 tablespoon of water

To Garnish 
Pomegranate aril
chopped mint leaves or parsley   

Baba Ganoush | Lebanese Aubergine Dip


METHOD: 
  1. Wash the eggplant and roast it on the gas burner on direct medium flame. Turn it occasionally to roast evenly for about 10 to 15 minutes. It might take more or less time depending on the gas burner and flame. You should continue to roast until the skin gets crispy and the inside of the eggplant becomes soft. 
  2. Remove from flame and carefully place it on the board and let it cool completely until you can handle the heat.  Remove the skin carefully and avoid leaving any tiny bits. If you do see any tiny bits of the skin, pick them manually or use  a kitchen paper to wipe off or if it too much, wash it under a running water. 
  3. Cut and discard the stem and put the flesh in a big bowl. Use a fork to mash it and add lemon juice sooner to prevent the aubergine flesh from discolouring. Add tahini, salt, garlic and water and mix well
  4. Serve in a bowl or plate garnished with pomegranate seeds, mint leave or parsley
  5. Serve it with Pita breads or any flat-breads
Baba Ganoush | Lebanese Aubergine Dip

Middle Eastern dips and salads like baba ganoush and hummus are totally subject to taste, so please ensure to adjust the taste according to your palette. You can start adding lemon juice, salt and olive oil all  little by little until you are pleased with the taste.

I did a quick check on the nutrition facts about aubergine -  Did you know it is high in fibre? even then, I cannot bring myself to make any other dishes of this vegetable. For now, I am good with just baba ganoush! :-P Thanks to Mona and Thanks to Ostorah! 

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