Delicious smoky aubergine dip. Aubergines are charred over a flame, pulped, and then seasoned with a classic Levantine mix of tahini, olive oil and garlic.
Hummus, that lovely creamy mix of puréed chickpeas and seasoning, has long claimed pole position as the Levantine dip of choice. However, for those of us with digestive problems, pulses are notoriously difficult to digest, resulting in instant disqualification for trusty old hummus. But, as it turns out, finding a direct replacement is not so difficult.
Baba Ganoush is a smoky dip made from aubergines that have been charred over a flame. The blistered skins are peeled off to reveal virginal flesh, that is then mashed with olive oil, tahini, garlic and lemon juice – exactly the same ingredients that constitute hummus.
- 1 kg aubergines (about 4 smallish aubergines)
- 4 tablespoons (60ml) tahini
- 4 tablespoons (60ml) lemon juice (about 1 1/2 lemons)
- 3 tablespoons (45ml) olive oil (plus extra for drizzling)
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- If you have a gas stove: first, to make it easier to turn the aubergines, thread onto a long metal skewer. Light a gas ring on a medium-high heat, and lay aubergines directly over the flame. Turn every 2 minutes or so until blackened all over (about 10 minutes). After about 5 minutes they will begin to emit a whining noise and steam from either end of the skewer insertion point – don’t be alarmed! They will also release an aroma not dissimilar from an ashtray. Repeat for remaining aubergines. The flesh should be completely tender when a skewer is inserted. If you are using large aubergines, you may need to finish off in an oven at 190°C/375°F until the flesh is tender all the way through.
If you do not have a gas stove: grill for 15-20 minutes, turning frequently, until blackened all over. Alternatively, preheat an oven to 190°C/375°F and bake for 35-40 minutes.
- As soon as the aubergines are cooked, seal in an airtight container (or place in a bowl and cover with clingfilm). This will trap the heat and moisture, making the skin easier to peel. Leave for 15 minutes.
- Once the aubergines are just cool enough to handle, remove from the container. Holding each aubergine by the stalk, carefully peel off the blackened skin and discard. The flesh should be very tender and watery. Place into a bowl and mash to a rustic and stingy texture. Transfer the pulp to a sieve and leave to drain for 30 minutes.
- In a clean bowl, stir the lemon juice and tahini with a metal spoon until blended. Add the remaining ingredients (olive oil, garlic cloves, parsley, salt and pepper) and mix. Once the aubergine pulp has drained, add to the bowl and mix until fully blended. Taste, and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Add more lemon juice if you want a fresher taste.
- Transfer to a serving bowl and drizzle with olive oil.