I’m not quite sure how this happened, but I’ve only just made baba ghanoush for the first time. I’ve eaten countless varieties of this dip in Turkish restaurants and other cafes/restaurants around London, but never made it myself. It’s probably because you have to wait a little while to drain the aubergine, and I’m often time poor. However, there’s no reason not to make it if you’ve got nothing better to do on a Saturday. And plus, burning aubergines is fun. Often the dips I’ve tasted are very yoghurt heavy, more like mutabal. Authentic baba ghanoush has no yoghurt and it seems there’s a big debate surrounding the addition of tahini too. I like to add just a teaspoon for a subtle background note of sesame – I want to taste the smoky aubergine first and foremost, but just a little adds a nice extra layer. Typically, this would also be scattered with pomegranate arils, but I find pomegranate molasses to be a superior substitution. I like the sticky sweet syrupy contrast – but that’s just me. Replace the molasses with a few fresh pomegranate arils if you disagree!
Serve as part of a mezze platter, grilled lamb or with crackers/flatbreads for a light lunch.
You will need:
4 small aubergines
Grated zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbspn freshly chopped mint
1 tbspn freshly chopped parsley
1 tspn tahini
Salt to taste
1 tbspn extra virgin olive oil, to serve
1 tbspn pomegranate molasses, to serve
1 – The first step is to burn the aubergines, which you’ll need to do in 2 batches. Turn on 2 large stove top gas burners to a high heat. Place 2 of the the aubergines directly onto the gas burners, turning them occasionally using metal tongs.
2 – Once the skins are blackened all over and the flesh inside is soft, set the aubergines aside and repeat with the remaining 2 aubergines.
3 – When the aubergines are cool enough to handle, remove the burnt skin and stems and finely chop the flesh. Place the aubergine flesh in a colander and drain for at least an hour.
4 – When ready to serve, place the drained aubergine flesh into a mixing bowl. Finely chop the fresh herbs and add most of this along with most the lemon zest, the lemon juice, garlic and the tahini to the aubergine.
5 – Mix well and season well with salt to taste.
6 – To serve, spoon the aubergine mix into a dish and scatter over the remaining herbs and lemon zest before drizzling with the olive oil and pomegranate molasses.