As I continue to explore the vegetarian African/Middle-Eastern cuisine this holy month of Ramzan, one thing I am keeping an eye on is looking for recipes that don’t need a great deal of preparation or then can be made in advance.
Today, I am falling back on the traditional and popular smoky brinjal dip known as Baba Ghanoush (also called Moutabal or Muttabal). Before I go any further, let me qualify with this post by saying that I tried to read up extensively on the difference between Baba Ghanoush and Moutabal. There are decidedly a whole range of diverse opinions there but I have found that the basic ingredients are the same. In some cases, Moutabal has yogurt added to it. Given how similar the two recipes are, I am using this as a common recipe.
Coming back to Baba Ghanoush, I love anything to do with eggplants and when I found myself with 3 large specimens, I decided to try out this smoky, garlicky eggplant dip. It was a wonderful change from the traditional Andhra recipes of Vankaya Pachi Pulusu and Vankaya Perugu Pachadi.
How to Make Baba Ghanoush, Muttabal, Moutabal
Makes: 1 Cup
Cooking Time: 60 Minutes
- Large Eggplants (Bharta Baingan) – 2
- Tahini – 1/4 Cup
- Lemon Juice – 1 to 2 tbsp
- Garlic Cloves – 2 or 3
- Parsley – A Handful
- Salt to Taste
- Olive Oil for Garnish
Method to Roast the Eggplant
- Apply a thin film of oil to the eggplant.
- Place the eggplant directly over an open flame.
- Slowly cook the eggplant over low to medium flame.
- Rotate the eggplant at regular intervals so that it cooks evenly.
- Cook the eggplant till the skin becomes crackly and charred and the eggplant becomes very soft.
- Place the roasted eggplant in a colander to drain the excess liquid and cool.
Method to Make the Baba Ghanoush
- Chop the parsley to fine pieces.
- Peel the roasted eggplant.
- Grind the roasted eggplant, garlic cloves, Tahini and salt into a smooth paste.
- Mix in the sea salt, lemon juice, and parsley.
- Drizzle some olive oil.
- I place a plate right under the burner as some liquid will drip from the eggplant as it cooks.
- Ensure that you roast the eggplant slowly over a medium flame. On a high flame, the skin chars but the eggplant itself remains raw.