A classic mezze (appetiser), Baba Ghanoush, the smoky aubergine dip, is found on tables in the Mediterranean, Central Europe, the Middle East and in Asia. You may know it as Abu Ghanoush, Muttabal or plain old Aubergine spread. You’ll find it in many guises too, sometimes in its basic form with just aubergines, tahini, lemon juice, garlic & olive oil, at other times with the addition of tomatoes and/or onions.
One crucial step in achieving that smoky flavour is charring the aubergine skin until it’s virtually black in colour. Skip this part and your baba ghanoush is not going to have that trademark smokiness. This can be done over a barbecue or directly over the flame of a gas burner.
Ingredients (serves 4)
2 large aubergines
2 cloves garlic
3 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp tahini
half – 1 tsp salt, to taste
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
pinch of cumin
pinch of paprika or chilli powder
1. Preheat the oven to 200˚C (Fan 180˚C).
2. Pierce the aubergine skin lightly with a fork or a paring knife.
3. Char the aubergines over the flame of your gas burner for about 5 minutes, turning 2-3 times until the skin is a very dark colour.
4. When done, immediately place on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for about 20-30 minutes, until they are completely soft, literally gooey on the inside. You should be able to push a knife right through.
5. When done, remove from the oven and let them cool down.
6. When cool to the touch, halve the aubergines and scrape out the pulp.
7. Place all the ingredients into a food processor or chopper and blitz until smooth. Check seasoning, add more salt & lemon juice if necessary.
8. Place in serving dish, top with the tsp of olive oil and sprinkle the cumin and paprika/chilli powder all over.
9. Serve with vegetable sticks, pita, slices of baguette, crackers, etc.