Hello from Tel Aviv! I am traveling in Jordan and Israel on a business trip, and have taken a few days off to explore the amazing food scene here. I will be posting lots of photos and recipes from my trip when I get back! But right now, please enjoy this Baba Ganoush recipe guest post from Shulie of Food Wanderings. Her blog is full of lovingly created food, recipes (have you seen her mouthwatering India series?) and great photos! Make sure you say hello to Shulie on Twitter and Facebook too! Take it away Shulie..
When Sala asked me to guest post for her while she was traveling, I said yes, of course. You probably remember Sala from her guest post, White Peas Sautéed with Green Mango and Coconut, in the India Series on my site. Sala is a well seasoned traveler and I cannot wait to hear her impressions from her quick couple of days trip to Israel, while she is, for the first time, in the Middle East. Sala, thank you for having me as a guest in your Veggie Belly space.
Sala wanted me to make a dish from home and Baba Ghanoush is always at the table whether at homes or restaurants in Israel. Baba Ghanoush, an eggplant dip or salad, more widely known as a Lebanese dish, is wide spread throughout the Levant, Egypt and the Balkans. The Levant is the crossroads between Western Europe, Eastern Mediterranean and Northern Africa.
There are many variations to this eggplant dip/salad that is mostly served in Israel as a mezze, starter, along with many mezzes at the table. We make it the traditional way with olive oil and tahini but some in Israel make it with mayonnaise too. The grilling and charring of the eggplant, otherwise known as an aubergine, prior to scooping the flesh/pulp to make the salad lends it a smoky flavor. In Arab homes in Israel and the Middle East, the Baba Ghanoush is made from a variety of an eggplant called Baladi which is probably the best eggplant variety I have ever tasted. This wild variety eggplant is sweeter and the flesh so white and delicate inside.
You can whiz the Baba Ghanoush to a dip or spread consistency with all the other ingredients in the food processor, but traditionally in Israel and to this date, we chop it in a back and forth motion with a cleaver or a sharp knife. Think of mincing meat. Whiz or chop the eggplant to consistency desired. I add the lemon to the eggplant immediately after being scooped, to avoid oxidizing and then add a bit more, later, to adjust for flavor. Charring of eggplant can be done for five minutes on top of a stove top, outside grill or the oven broiler.
The Baba Ghanoush is a delicious and healthy dish for your Holiday or New Year’s Eve cocktail party as a hors d’oeuvre with pita chip or fresh pita wedges.
Baba Ghanoush Recipe
serves about 2
1 large eggplant (1 lb)
1 large garlic clove, minced
Juice of a 1/2 small lemon
1 teaspoon tahini paste (could you use an extra teaspoon according to taste)
1 tablespoon mild olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt or to taste
Handful pomegranate seeds/arils
1 teaspoon finely chopped parsley
Prick the eggplant with a fork in a few places on its surface. Grill on an out door grill or broil in an oven until charred on all sides, about five minutes.
Halve eggplant and scoop pulp. Add juice of 1/2 lemon to the pulp and stir. Mash the eggplant with a fork, or chop with a knife or whiz in a food processor. Add minced garlic, olive oil, tahini and salt and whiz/mix quickly.
Adjust the salt and lemon juice if necessary.
Serve in a bowl garnished with parsley and pomegranates seeds. Serve with pita chips or fresh pita wedges. Bon Appetit!