Alongwith the Open faced pies with Arabic dressing made and posted last time, I thought of making it a whole meal with Eggplant dip and pickled vegetables on side. I have been smitten by the strong Moroccan flavors for a while. There is no mistaking the sumac in the pies, and similarly, the robust eggplant flavor delicious mingles with tahini and coriander in this dip.
Several years back, the first time we went to a Moroccan restaurant called Bisto Grill in Mumbai, we had the ‘Baba Ghanoush’ . The name sounded exotic, the price was steep, and hence we expected something ridiculously fancy to show up on our table. But all that was served was a salad made of roasted eggplant with some sautéed onions. Totally bland and flavorless. Duh! So much for expecting an Aladdin come out from his lamp carrying a sizzling smokey Baba Ghanoush! It was disappointing and I wished I could make it at home.
That was back then, when I literally didn’t know how to cook anything. Ofcourse, priority list was different then. I had to first study well and clear my Chartered Accountancy exams. Several days on end, I wouldn’t ever enter the kitchen. Even if I did, all I had to do was chop onions, or wash coriander and similar stuff. Only help mom whenever she particularly “asked” me to.
But now, I can . And I did. My brother still calls it a fashionable version of Baingan-ka-bharta (a popular dish in Maharashtrian and Northern cuisine), but I beg to differ and call it a fancy Baba Ghanoush. Now picture this setting :
And some of this :
And then this :
Now you are in the perfect mood to enjoy this roasted eggplant dip. It is best had with some Pita bread, but any sort of toasted bread goes well with it.
There are two ways of roasting an eggplant. Once is directly on the stovetop, rotating it with the stem and being careful to not let it burn too much. It is done when the skin gets wrinkled and come off easily, in about 7-10 minutes.
The second one is easier, albeit takes longer. Poking holes in the eggplant with a fork, and roasting in an oven for 35-40 minutes, flipping once in the middle of roasting.
In the stovetop method, the eggplant gets a ravishing smokey flavor, I highly recommend it. But if you are multi-tasking, or doing it for the first time, may be the oven method is better.
Roasted Eggplant Dip or Baba Ghanoush recipe
makes about 1 and 1/2 cup
What you will need:
- 1 medium whole eggplant
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt
- juice of ½ lemon
- 1 tbsp white sesame seeds
- ¼ cup fresh coriander
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- salt & pepper to taste
- Toasted pine nuts,pomegranate seeds and olive oil for garnish
What to do:
- Roast eggplant by one of the two methods: A)On the stovetop, rotating continuously till the skin gets wrinkled. B) Preheat oven to 200°C. Line a baking pan with aluminium foil. Poke holes in the eggplant with a fork and roast it for 35-40 minutes, turning once after 20 minutes.
- Heat some olive oil in a small pan and lightly roast three-four un-peeled whole garlic cloves. Set aside to cool.
- Once eggplant is roasted slice in half lengthwise. Scoop flesh out of the skin and place in a food processor/mixer.
- Squeeze roasted garlic out of it’s skin and into the food processor as well.
- Add half of the olive oil and the remaining ingredients to the food processor and process for about 30 seconds until combined.
- Drizzle the other half of olive oil into the food processor while running and process for about another minute until smooth.
- Season to taste with more salt & pepper if needed.
- Transfer to serving dish and garnish.
- You can substitute sesame seeds with store brought tahini, and reduce the olive oil to 2 tbsps.
- Add some smoked paprika to get an additional smokey flavor.
Go ahead, delight your guests with this very easy and exotic sounding, looking and tasting eggplant dip.
May be serve it Aladdin style lamp, and rub on the sides before offering 😉