Cultural background

The Oxford English Dictionary defines “baba ganoush” as “a Middle Eastern (originally Lebanese) dish of puréed roasted aubergine, garlic, and tahini.” Often other ingredients are added, like mint, onions, and various spices. It is a typical meze (‘starter’) of the regional cuisine, often eaten as a dip with pita bread, and is sometimes added to other dishes.

Baba ganoush is a Lebanese appetizer of mashed cooked eggplant mixed with tahini (made from sesame seeds), olive oil, possibly lemon juice, and various seasonings. It may be mixed with onions, tomatoes, or other vegetables.

The name comes from the Arabic phrase “baba gannuj”, in which baba can mean father or daddy (or an endearment), and gannuj can mean coquettish or pampered. The dish, the OED says, was named “perhaps with reference to its supposed invention by a member of a royal harem.” So, the pampered daddy may have been a sultan.

Baba Ganoush can be served in different ways- for example as a dip with homemade pita chips or cut up veggies, on top of slow roasted lamb or roast chicken, on a sandwich or in a pita pocket, as tapas platter or as a sauce/dip for your veggies or rice.

We have prepared this dish to munch during the preparation of our NIK more complicated recipes.

Culinary information

Ingredients for 4 people

  • 2 extra-large Eggplants
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced (use a garlic press)
  • 4 tablespoons of tahini paste
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon of salt

Preparation

  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Place the eggplants on a baking dish and roast in your oven for 30 minutes, turning halfway through.
  2. Set the cooked eggplants on a rimmed bowl and leave them until they are cool enough to handle. Pour the juice that collects on the plate into a bowl then peel the eggplants and discard the skin.
  3. Place the creamy insides into your food processor and add the tahini, lemon juice, garlic, and 1 teaspoon of salt and process until smooth. Taste and add more salt, if needed. For a smokier tasting baba ganoush, add a tablespoon or two of the reserved juice.
  4. For the best flavour, let the baba ganoush rest in your fridge for at least 2 hours before serving.

Other aspects

  • Wash your hands carefully.   
  • Be careful with hot  pans and blenders.   
  • Choose only fresh vegetables.