July 17th, 2011

Baba ganoush

Home made dip time! Baba ganoush is one of my favourite dips—I love the smoky eggplant flavour, and the silky texture.

It is best when the eggplants are done on a barbecue, but failing that (our failure being that we live in a small apartment with no outside space), a gas hob works pretty well to impart a smoky flavour. You just blacken the eggplant all over until the flesh is very soft and cooked through. I’ve also done this in a hot oven, but it’s not quite as effective.

The advantage of an oven is that you don’t have to clean up the mess afterwards—but I think the mess is worth it.

Once the eggplant is cool enough to handle you can peel off the blackened skin.

The key to a good baba ganoush is getting the right balance of flavours: garlic, salt, lemon juice, olive oil and tahini. I use about one lemon, two tbsp of tahini, two tbsp of olive oil, a teaspoon of salt, and one large clove of garlic for two eggplants. It’s all approximate, and it’s important to keep tasting as you mix—you don’t want any one flavour to overpower the others, but you do want to be able to taste all the flavours clearly. The garlic tends to mellow out after a while, so you can get away with it tasting a bit too garlicky at the beginning. Good quality olive oil is important.

I like to mix mine with a fork so that it keeps a bit of texture. It’s great as a dip on it’s own, or with any kind of middle eastern meal.

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