With origins in the “Levant” region of the Middle East that includes present day Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt, Baba Ghanoush is arguably one of the most popular dishes in Middle Eastern cuisine. While the exact place of origin of this dish is not known and often subject to debate, it is suffice to say that like many other native dishes of the region, this one too spread far beyond the Levant to other parts of the Middle East or the Arab world which consists of as many as 22 countries. Needless to mention, there are several variations of the dish with a plethora of ingredients used giving rise to unique flavours. Why not hero the brinjal with this brilliant appetizer?
A melange of flavours
Baba Ghanoush is essentially a simple dish with a few key quintessential ingredients which includes eggplants, garlic, tahini, lemon and olive oil. The kind of ingredients used like the variety of brinjals, the roasting techniques and the method of adding the rest of the components makes all the difference. The aubergine is normally slow roasted on an open flame until the skin is charred and the inside pulp is cooked super soft. This lends it the characteristic smoky flavour. You could also use an oven for the purpose. The pulp is extracted out and thoroughly drained to remove water or moisture content and then mixed with the other ingredients to form a homogenous mixture. An ideal accompaniment to pita bread, wheat or sourdough crackers, this one is indeed a lip-smacking dip!
Here is a new age recipe of Baba Ghanoush that is perfect for the party season this summer:
Recipe courtesy: Pawan Kumar – Executive Chef, Angsana Oasis Spa And Resort
• 3 aubergines/brinjals
• 1 yellow bell pepper
• 1-3 garlic cloves, crushed
• Juice of 1 lemon
• 2-4 tbsp tahini
• 3 tbsp olive oil
• black pepper to taste
• 1 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley
• 30 gm yoghurt
• Romaine lettuce
- Prick two aubergines with a fork after greasing them. Grill the aubergines until the skin is charred and turns black and the flesh feels soft when you press it. (This will take approximately 15-20 minutes, keep turning repeatedly through cooking until the whole skin is charred).
- Roast the yellow bell pepper in a similar way. Remove the skin and fine chop it.
- In a pestle and mortar, crush the garlic with the lemon juice, tahini, olive oil and pepper.
- When cool enough to handle, remove the skin and cut the aubergines in half and scoop out the flesh.
- Mix the soft flesh with the roasted bell pepper and the remaining ingredients.
- For the dehydrated brinjal, cut the last brinjal into thin slices. Sprinkle with salt and roast on 70-degree Fahrenheit for 60 minutes.
- For plating, place the baba ghanoush in a serving spoon. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle parsley over the top.
- Put a small leaf of romaine lettuce topped with yoghurt and dehydrated brinjal as garnish.
- Try to choose plump brinjals which are less seedy (Italian brinjals usually work well).
- You can use a food processor to whip the brinjal and bell pepper pulp into a smooth homogenous mixture.
- Ensure that the excess moisture in the brinjal pulp is drained off before mixing with the other ingredients.
- You can add smoked paprika powder and/or cumin powder along with the parsley during garnish.