Baba Ghanouj – Smoky, Lebanese Eggplant & Tahini Dip

Baba Ghanouj

Baba Ghanouj Chris 681x1024 Baba Ghanouj   Smoky, Lebanese Eggplant & Tahini Dip

I’m back from a lovely, relaxing holiday in Antigua where I sunned my self brown and drank rum punch galore. I’ve got some gorgeous pictures I can’t wait to share with all of you in my next post. Antigua is so picturesque and I can’t wait to return. Holidays are great for rejuvenating the mind and inspiring all kinds of creativity and ideas. I love it when I find inspiration on Holiday. I think it’s a good sign that I relaxed the mind and soul. Don’t you think?

It didn’t take long though until I was back in the real world. It’s been extremely hectic on my return with all the FBC organising. It looks as though the sun will be out for the weekend in our neck of the woods and that should help make it an awesome FBC weekend!

baba ghanouj 680x1024 Baba Ghanouj   Smoky, Lebanese Eggplant & Tahini Dip

Baba Ghanouj is one of the infamous Middle-Eastern mezza dips almost everyone is familiar with. Baba means “father” in Arabic and ghanouj refers to any of the following; soft. wanting affection and or cuddly. According to Clifford Wright, scholar and author of  A Mediterranean Feast, baba could refer to the important place of eggplant as the “father of vegetables,” and ghanouj could be in reference to the fact that anyone who should be lucky to taste it will be spoilt by it’s smooth, creamy goodness.

Baba Ghanouj, like many Middle-Eastern dishes, can be found in many variations depending on region. In Palestine, for example, the same dish can be referred to as mutabbal. Do you know more about the difference between baba ghanouj and muttabal? Would love to hear your thoughts.

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Baba Ghanouj- Lebanese Smoky Eggplant & Tahini Dip

Serves 4-6 as part of a mezza

Time: 20-30 minutes

Cast of Characters

  • 3 aubergines/eggplants or about 1.5 kg
  • 125ml tahini or about 1/2 cup
  • Juice of 1 lemon, more or less to taste
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • Salt to taste
  • Pomegranate arils for decorating, if in season

The Nitty-Gritty

1) I like to char my aubergines over  A) open flame on the stove. However, you can also use B) the oven.

A) I usually char them on a naked flame however you can line the stovetop with aluminum foil or burner covers so not to get it too messy- My grandmother used to use the covers of Nido tins. Turn a burner to high heat and lean the aubergines directly over burner turning occasionally with tongs until all sides are charred and aubergines are soft. This should take about 5 minutes per side or 15-20 minutes in total. Remove and place on a plate and let them cool completely. Drain juices, remove skin and place the aubergine pulp in a food processor.

B) Pre-heat oven to 400F/200C/6G and bake the aubergine on a baking sheet for about an 45-1 hour, then cool, remove the skin and place the aubergine pulp in a food processor.

2) Add the garlic, lemon juice, salt, and tahini and pulse for about a minute or till soft and smooth. Season with more lemon juice and salt according to your taste.

3) Transfer to bowl, garnish with mint, pomegranate arils, olive oil. Serve with warm Arabic bread.

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28 Responses to “Baba Ghanouj – Smoky, Lebanese Eggplant & Tahini Dip”
  1. George@CulinaryTravels 2 June 2010 at 10:49 am #

    Absolutely fabulous Beth. One of my favourites.

    Beautiful photography as always :)

    • Bethany 7 June 2010 at 10:18 pm #

      Thanks George!!

  2. Faith 2 June 2010 at 11:03 am #

    I’m glad you had a good time on vacation! Your baba ghanouj looks perfect…love the pretty pomegranate arils on top!

  3. Cherine 2 June 2010 at 3:09 pm #

    Your baba ghannouj looks fantastic :)

    • Peter 2 June 2010 at 6:35 pm #

      Welcome back, where are the holiday pics? ;)

      The Greek version is Melitzanosalata and like your baba ghanouj, I feel that grilling/charring the eggplants is a must for that wonderful smokyness. I’m sold…love it!

      • Bethany 7 June 2010 at 10:19 pm #

        Thanks Peter! Will need to try the Greek version next time I visit a Greek resto. charred eggplants ROCK!

  4. Mika 2 June 2010 at 3:20 pm #

    In Syria this is called Mutabal and Baba Ghanouj is made with roasted aubergines, walnuts, tomatoes, parsley and pomegranate molasses…
    I learned this from Kano site…http://syrianfoodie.blogspot.com/2009/05/mutabal-and-baba-ghanoush-which-is.html
    But I don’t really understand if this is true just in Syria or everywhere…

    • Bethany 7 June 2010 at 10:17 pm #

      Thanks for the info. I’ve always known it as baba ghanouj. I need to get more information during my visit to Lebanon this summer.

  5. Krista 2 June 2010 at 4:42 pm #

    So glad you had such a lovely escape in such a gorgeous spot, Bethany! :-) Welcome home! This looks fabulous. :-) I’m just starting to use eggplant more and I really like this option. Hope FBC is so fun for all of you!

    • Bethany 7 June 2010 at 10:16 pm #

      Hey Krista! FBC was a blast. Wish you were there. Would be lovely to meet you soon! Coming to London soon? x

  6. Asha@FSK 2 June 2010 at 5:27 pm #

    Oooh! can’t wait for the Antigua post! in the meantime I think I’ll just gape at that perfect bowl of Baba Ghanouj

  7. The Grubworm 3 June 2010 at 7:26 am #

    Oh oh oh, I just LOVE aubergines. And bbqing them for sauces is about as good as it gets (sea fragrant Sichuan style aside) for me. I love the deep smoky flavour combined with the slippery slidy silky flesh of the aubergine. It’s decadent and almost obscene, but in a good way.

    I thought that Bab Ganoush was made with thick strained yoghurt and Moutabal with tahini, although i may be very wrong as I’m no expert in the cuisine. Check out Claudia Rodin, i think she has recipes for both in Arabesque and other of her Middle Eastern focused cook books.

    Great pics, not good to look at before breakfast as it has set my tummy a-rumble.

    • Bethany 7 June 2010 at 10:22 pm #

      I’ve actually had fried crispy aubergine in plum sauce…YIKES! It was out-a-this world! I’ve seen recipes for it with strained yoghurt and it’s probably all relevant to country. Growing up in Lebanon, I saw my father, grandmother and aunts always make it with tahini. I’ve been meaning to buy her book for some time now. Thanks for the feedback :)

  8. Trissa 4 June 2010 at 3:19 am #

    Thanks for sharing… my husband is addicted to Baba Ghanouj and I learned from someone to use a microwave (I know! gasp!) but I am sure smoking them would impart a much better flavour. I’ll have to try your recipe soon. And, can’t wait to see your Antigua pics – welcome back!

  9. Colleen 4 June 2010 at 10:31 am #

    I absolutely adore this dish. One of my favorite party dishes. Yours looks divine Beth. Thinking of you all so much this weekend and wishing you all the very best for a fabulously successful FBC 2010. Hugs xx

    • Bethany 7 June 2010 at 10:14 pm #

      Thanks Colleen! It was wonderful and a good time. Wish you could have made it. x

  10. Sasa 6 June 2010 at 1:02 pm #

    Glad you had a lovely trip and hope FBC is awesome (but please pretend it sucked so I feel better about missing it) ;P Love Baba Ghanoush too, and your are such pretty photos, love the pomegranate.

    • Bethany 7 June 2010 at 10:10 pm #

      Sasa- You most definitely will be at the next one! Anyway I must meet you before!

  11. Fouad @ The Food Blog 8 June 2010 at 12:22 pm #

    Hi Bethany

    Nice recipe. I do the same when it comes to charring then baking. I don’t use a blender though. For some reason I like it to be a bit chunky rather than creamy.

    So, I’ve been reading Anis Frayha’s book “The Lebanese Village” and he is discussing foods are are mutabbal. He defines a titbeeleh as a mixture of garlic, oil and something sharp like lemon juice, vinegar or verjuice when it is the season for hosrom. So far, it seems batenjen mutabbal is eggplant with the aforementioned sauce. Then he elaborates and says, some dishes use tahini to be mutabbal such as, and I quote, the famous “baba ghanouj”. So, according to Mr Frayha, the documenter of the Lebanese village, baba ghanouj has tahini :)

    Hope that helps. Oh, and by the way, mom’s definition also aligns with Anis Frayha’s definition, and mom knows best, right?

  12. Peanut Butter and Jealous! 8 June 2010 at 4:27 pm #

    Beth, it was great meeting you at FBC! What a great job you did getting that organized! It really was an amazing weekend! After looking at this recipe, I think I know what I’m making for lunch this weekend! :) Hope to keep in touch! :)

  13. valentina 9 June 2010 at 8:10 am #

    Bethany, your blog is gorgeous!! I shall not miss your posts moving forward. Baba Ghanouj is something that I really love and it is nice to be able to check whether I am doing it right. if not, to learn how to sort it out.Once again, thanks to you and Chris for the fabulous weekend. I learnt so much and made some many new friends. i am back at work today and feeling rather refreshed and re-entergized.

  14. Sarah, Maison Cupcake 9 June 2010 at 6:42 pm #

    I love baba ganouj but never made it myself, I love the pictures too.

  15. hintofsaffron 11 June 2010 at 4:30 am #

    I love Baba Ghanouj. There is a Palestinian restaurant at the University of Washington campus in Seattle and I love that place. It is a small restaurant but food is incredibly tasty. I am glad I discovered your site. Nice pics and lots of good recipes. Will be trying it out this weekend. Please do visit my site.

  16. Akila 13 June 2010 at 2:29 pm #

    This is almost how we make baba ghanouj . . . except that before we char the eggplants, we cut small slits into them and stuff slivers of garlic into the eggplant. Then, they eggplant infuses with the garlic flavor and the garlic becomes soft and mushy. It’s delicious. Lovely pictures and it sounds like you had a blast in Antigua.

    • Bethany 15 June 2010 at 11:05 am #

      Hey Akila! Thanks for stopping by! Great idea as I’m always up for more garlic :)

  17. Rachel 11 July 2010 at 7:58 am #

    Hi Beth, I have been looking for a good Baba Ghanouj recipe since I first sampled it whilst in Manhattan nearly 10 years ago. Yours looks perfect. It would go beautifully with your Shish!
    http://www.dirtykitchensecrets.com/kafta-meshweeye-minced-lamb-on-the-shish/
    That’s my next BBQ planned then! thanks.

  18. Jennifer Diddle 24 August 2010 at 11:19 am #

    I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading.

  19. Zouzou 23 April 2011 at 9:14 pm #

    Poke the Batenjen with a fork and cooking becomes easier. Specially if they’re of a certain size.

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