Baba ghanoush (Arabic بابا غنوج bābā ghanūj) is a popular Levantine dish of eggplant (aubergine) mashed and mixed with various seasonings. Frequently the eggplant is baked or broiled over an open flame before peeling, so that the pulp is soft and has a smoky taste. Baba ghanoush is usually eaten as a dip with pita bread, and is sometimes added to other dishes. It is usually of an earthy light brown color.
In Armenia the dish is known as mutabal. The essential ingredients in Armenian mutabal are eggplant, tahini, garlic, lemon, and onion; and most Armenians also add cumin.
In Turkey, the dish is commonly known as patlıcan salatası (eggplant salad), also prepared with grilled eggplant, olive oil, lemon juice and garlic; sometimes, tahini, chopped tomato and green pepper as well. More frequently, eggplant is mixed with yoghurt, olive oil and garlic. Patlıcan beğendi is a similar dish which is served hot with meat and it includes cheese, milk and flour.
In Greece and Cyprus, melitzanosalata is made with olive oil and lemon juice.
Baba Ghanoush (Moutabal)
While small, slender eggplants are often preferred in cooking, baba ghanoush makes use of those huge oversize eggplants with all their flesh. Using a food processor to puree the eggplant helps crush any seeds.
2 large eggplants (about 2 lbs), pricked all over with a fork
2 garlic cloves
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup tahini
for garnish: olive oil, chopped parsley, red pepper flakes, pomegranate seeds, etc.
1. Preheat a grill or preheat the oven to 450 F and roast the eggplants for 40-45 minutes, until the skins are black and the flesh is soft and collapsed.
2. Meanwhile, smash the garlic with the salt in a mortar and pestle until paste-like. In a large bowl, whisk together the lemon juice and tahini until thick and lighter in color. Add the garlic paste.
3. When the roast eggplants are cool enough to handle, split them in half and scoop out the soft flesh. Puree the eggplant flesh in a food processor until smooth.
4. Add the eggplant puree to the garlic/tahini mixture. Taste for seasoning. Allow to rest until cool.
5. To serve, spread in a platter and drizzle with olive oil and any of your desired toppings.