Baba Ganoush – All About Baba Ganoush
Baba ganoush is a Middle Eastern vegetarian dish made of roasted, mashed eggplant blended with tahini, olive oil and a variety of seasonings. Literally translated, it means ‘father of coquetry’. Because of its very unusual meaning, it has been suggested that it was perhaps first created by a member of an Arab harem, whose name was ‘ganoush’.
Ingredients & Preparation
- 3 eggplants, medium sized with firm, shiny skin
- ½ cup tahini or sesame paste
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves, smashed
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- Small bunch cilantro leaves or flat leaf parsley
- 1 ¼ teaspoons coarse salt
Prick eggplants with a fork a few times. Place the pricked eggplants directly over the flame and turn around regularly so the entire skin is evenly charred. If you do not have a gas stove, you can use a broiler for the charring.
Roast charred eggplants for about 20 minutes in an oven preheated to 375F. The eggplants should be completely soft at this point. Remove and let cool.
Cut eggplant into two halves and scrape out the soft pulp or simply peel off the charred skin. The skin will come off in flakes as it will be burnt at this stage.
Puree in a blender with all other ingredients till the mixture is smooth.
Drizzle a little olive oil and sprinkle a few herbs for additional flavor and garnish. Serve with toasted pita bread, crackers or slices of baguette.
Note: Scorching the eggplants over a flame till the skin actually blackens is an integral part of preparing baba ganoush. This is what gives the dish its distinctively smoky taste. Skipping this step will result in a dish that tastes quite flat. The amount of time that it needs to be properly charred is about 5- 7 minutes. However if you like it super-smoky, you can keep it on the fire for as much as 10 minutes. Make sure you turn it around regularly on the flame so the entire skin gets burnt.
Ground cumin is another popular flavoring agent that is often used with this dish. If you decide to use it, remember only the tiniest pinch is enough to enhance its flavor. Too much and it can be overpowering.
Baba ganoush can be prepared and kept in the refrigerator up to 5 days before you intend serving it.
Baba ganoush is a versatile dish and can be served up several different ways. It can be eaten by itself or served with crackers, toasted pita bread or sliced crusty bread, accompanied by cucumber slices, whole pitted green or black olives and tomato wedges. It tastes just as delicious when served with pasta. For those who are strictly vegetarian, this is a delicious addition to the dinner table at any time.
Calories: 1 tablespoon contains 40 calories.