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The Best Baba Ganoush

One of the best things to make with eggplant is this Middle Eastern dip. It is smokiness which defines The Best Baba Ganoush. The charring of the eggplant infuses the dip which is smooth, creamy and full of complex flavours. Make it a day ahead if possible to allow the wonderful flavours to fully develop.
Course Appetiser, Entree, Nibbles, Starter
Cuisine Middle Eastern
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 221kcal
Author Alexandra

Ingredients

  • 2 medium eggplant *
  • 1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds *
  • 2 small garlic cloves
  • sea salt * and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 3 teaspoon lemon juice *
  • 3 tablespoon tahini
  • 3 tablespoon olive oil extra virgin, divided

Suggested Toppings:

  • finely chopped flat-leaf parsley or mint
  • pomegranate seeds or finely diced tomato

Instructions

  • Place the eggplants on a barbecue over a charcoal or gas grill flame. Alternatively, place the eggplants over a gas flame* on your stove. The third method is to place them on a foil lined baking tray under a grill*. See advice in Notes.
  • Turn the eggplants with tongs until the skin is deeply charred and the eggplants completely tender and beginning to collapse, about 20 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat source and place on a plate until cool.
  • Peel the eggplants. 
  • Drain in a colander for 1 hour*.
  • Meanwhile, heat a small, frying pan, without oil, over high heat. When the pan is hot add the cumin seeds. Shake the pan frequently to move the seeds about the pan. Continue until the seeds begin to slightly darken and become fragrant.
  • Immediately transfer the seeds to a mortar and pestle to halt the cooking process. Allow to cool.
  • Crush the seeds with a pestle. Alternatively, add them to a spice grinder* and process. A further option is to place the seeds in a strong plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin.
  • Place the eggplants in a food processor, add the garlic and ground cumin. Process until well combined and creamy.
  • Add the tahini and lemon juice. While processing, slowly drizzle in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil.
  • Check the Baba Ganoush for seasoning and texture of the dip. You may need to add extra lemon juice, salt or tahini to taste. If it needs to be a little thinner, add some extra olive oil. The dip should have the zing that the lemon provides, sufficient salt to enhance the flavour and the nutty flavour of tahini.
  • Spoon into a serving bowl. Make a well in the centre of the dip. Pour the remaining olive oil into the well.
  • Sprinkle with suggested and optional toppings. I have used parsley and pomegranate arils.

Notes

*If cooking eggplant over a gas flame on your stove, I recommend that you line the burner with foil to minimise clean up.
*If cooking eggplant under a grill/broiler, do not place them too close to the grill; the skin will char before the flesh cooks. They need to be about 15cm/6” below the heat source. Place the eggplants on a foil-lined and rimmed baking tray. Turn regularly to ensure even charring. It will take 30-40 minutes depending on the size of the eggplant.
* Eggplants should be very, very tender when cooked. Test near the stem and bottom ends; if a toothpick or skewer meets any resistance, continue cooking.
*It is important to drain the eggplant for this amount of time to extract as much liquid as possible.
*If you use your spice grinder to grind the cumin seeds, a handy tip to clean it between each use is to grind ¼ cup of rice to a powder. Discard the rice. Wipe the grinder clean with kitchen towel.
*Do not skimp on the salt. Use ample salt to enhance the eggplant flavour.
*The amount of lemon juice required will depend on the variety of lemon; some have less acidity than others. You will need to add the lemon according to your taste.
* Gradually adding the olive oil emulsifies the dip and provides delicious creaminess.

Nutrition

Calories: 221kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 9mg | Potassium: 585mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 8g | Calcium: 44mg | Iron: 1.4mg