Baba Ghanoush, A Smoky Middle Eastern Dip

by Paromita Datta last updated -

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It is time to give a shove to the boring old mayo and sour cream. While they may have their benefits with salmon, fries or sandwiches, it is time to make a change. With Middle Eastern cuisine suddenly the flavor of the season, it is time for a smoky baba ghanoush. This is a recipe that ticks all the boxes. It is vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, and counts in your five-veg-a-day. You can add it to a platter, use it in your sandwich, or just eat it by itself. Its smoky creamy flavor gives your general dip an extra dimension.

Despite the few ingredients it uses, it can be an incredibly versatile dish. There are chunky versions that need a fork or creamy spreads that you can scoop out with some fresh pita bread slices. You can use it as a side-dish, a spread or a dip.

How to Make Baba Ghanoush?

Baba ghanoush is incredibly easy to make. The grilling of the vegetable is all the effort you will need. The dish itself can be done in a few minutes. The simplicity of the dish makes it all the more imperative that you do it right. Like many dips, it is not bound by techniques or rules. A lot of it is dictated by taste and texture. So, keep tasting to get the right flavor. You can also keep adjusting its texture in the same way.

Arabic food baba ghanoush close-up on the plate and ingredients on the table

A smoky, creamy and delicious bowl of baba ghanoush. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Tips To Follow For The Perfect Baba Ghanoush

Baba ghanoush contains only a few ingredients- the aubergine, tahini, lemon, garlic, and olive oil.

  • The trick for getting the perfect baba ghanoush lies in its star, the aubergine. It is grilled over a stove, the barbeque or the oven. Make sure the vegetable is cooked all the way through. It will get soft and collapse in on itself. Grilling it over the stovetop is the easiest. Just rub the aubergine with oil and then roast over the stove or barbeque. When grilling in the oven, place the cut aubergine on a foil and grill.
  • It is important to ensure that all the moisture is drained from the aubergine once it is cooked. Squeeze the cooked aubergine gently till the water flows out. If you are grilling cut aubergine, just sprinkle some salt over the cut pieces and let the water drain out.
  • Some people like their baba ghanoush chunky, while some like it creamy. You can whizz it up in a food processor like our recipe for a smooth finish or use a fork to keep it chunkier.
  • Although most recipes contain tahini, you can opt to leave it out. Just increase the level of oil to make up for the reduced fat.
  • Some people like their baba ghanoush quite garlicky. But this is again dependent on your taste. We have used one garlic pod, but if you find it less, go ahead and add some more. The same goes for the amount of lemon you want.
  • You can add the oil at the time of mixing the dip or you can rim the dish with the oil. You can also do both.
  • The best way to make the baba ghanoush is to do the whole process slowly. Add the ingredients a little bit at a time. This way you can control the taste and the texture.
Arabic food baba ghanoush close-up on the plate and ingredients on the table

Smoky Baba Ghanoush Recipe

This smoky baba ghanoush makes the perfect accompaniment in a mezze platter. You can use it as you would hummus, as a dip with vegetables and pita bread or as a delicious sandwich spread. 
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Course: Dip/ Salad Dressing/ Sauce
Cuisine: Middle East
Keyword: Baba Ghanoush
Appliance: Stove, oven, Food Processor
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Author: Paromita Datta

Ingredients

  • 1 large aubergine
  • 1 garlic clove crushed
  • 1/2 lemon juiced
  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • 1 tbsp olive oil plus, for grilling
  • 2 tbsp chopped mint and parsley optional
  • 1 tbsp pomegranate seeds optional

Instructions

  • Start with preparing the aubergine. If you want to grill it after cutting, make sure you drain out the moisture. Cut it longitudinally, sprinkle the pieces with salt and leave it on a sieve to drain. Once the moisture is drained, place it over a foil. 
  • Rub a little oil over the cut surfaces and place them in the oven to grill. Alternatively, you can grill the whole aubergine over a stovetop or barbeque. Rub the aubergine with oil and grill it whole.
  • You know the aubergine is grilled when the skin looks charred and the vegetable seems to shrink into itself. Let it cool for 15 minutes and then slowly peel off the charred skin. You will be left with the smoky and cooked flesh. At this point, you can gently squeeze the flesh to drain any moisture. 
  • You can use a fork to smooth the aubergine pulp into a more homogenous mix. If you want a creamy dip, it is best to use a food processor to blend it. You can also add other ingredients as the machine runs. 
    A flat lay picture of Baba ganoush ingredients
  • Once the aubergine is broken down, add the garlic, lemon juice, tahini, and oil. Keep an eye on the texture to see that it is not becoming too runny. Add the oil slowly, keeping control over the quantity. 
  • If you are making it manually with a fork, just add the rest of the ingredients one at a time and use your fork to mix it. 
  • When serving the baba ghanoush, pour it into a shallow dish. Make a swirly circular pattern with the back of a spoon. You can make a moat of oil around the dip or pour it over the swirls in the dip. 
    Middle Eastern cuisine: baba ghanoush closeup in a plate on the table

Notes

You can leave the tahini if you don't like it or don't have access to it. In that case, do increase the amount of oil in the dip. 

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About the Author

Paromita Datta covers the latest health and wellness trends for Organic Facts. An ex-journalist who specialized in health and entertainment news, Paromita was responsible for managing a health supplement for The New Indian Express, a leading national daily in India. She has completed her post-graduation in Business Administration from the University of Rajasthan and her diploma in journalism from YMCA, Delhi. She is currently pursuing an e-course, Introduction to Food and Health, from Stanford University, US.

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