Roasted Eggplant Dip aka Baba Ghanoush

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 :

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And some of this :

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And then this :

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Hummus Trio

A few days ago, we had some delicious hummus, pickled vegetables and pita bread in a small traditional eatery in Bur Dubai. It was so wholesome and filling that I decided to try to make it once back home. Incidentally, Reshmy at BombayCHowparty showed us an awesome way to make a creamy, flavorful hummus.

Plus, being made from chickpeas it is very nutritious! Low in cholesterol and high in manganese, it does make for a healthy snack. Pair it up with diced carrots, cucumbers and lavash. Incredibly versatile, it can even be used as a spread on crackers, in a wrap or in sandwiches. Way to go!

Hummus requires some pre-planning. The chickpeas or chhole have to be soaked overnight. Alternatively, you can drain and use canned chickpeas.

The traditional hummus consists only of chickpeas, tahini paste (sesame seeds), oil and salt. But we can spice it up with almost anything. The sky is the limit. In fact, we even saw hummus ice-cream (didn’t have the heart to try it then, but its on the To-eat list.)

Hummus is actually Arabic for chic peas. But it has now become synonymous with the dip. Hummus bi tahini is the original with sumac, zatar or cilantro.

This time, I experimented with paprika and olives. But mint/ oregano / basil / roasted onions would go brilliantly well. Next on my list is to make raw mango infused hummus replacing the lemon juice. Let me know what else you think will work well in this.

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