Sauces #3: baba ganoush/baba ghanouj
What is the "real" recipe? Or what is essential and what is optional to make a good, tasty and reasonably "authentic" version? What are the best uses? Thanks.
Here's my recipe. In my world, baba ghanooj should be smokey-tasting (so I barbecue until blackened) and not too smooth. I prefer the texture of fork-mashed and I like it nice and lemony. This one is a very traditional version. There are many many twists on it.
1 medium eggplant
1/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup lemon juice
1-2 cloves garlic, squished
Salt to taste
Olive oil (optional)
Prick eggplant all over with a forkand either bake at 450o F (230o C), for about 1 hour, until blackened and soft. Or place the eggplant the barbecue, and cook, turning once or twice, until charred and soft. The barbecue method will produce a smokier taste.
Cut a slit down the length of the eggplant, scoop the mushy insides into a bowl and mash with a fork. Add all the rest of the ingredients, mixing well with a fork. This can be done in a food processor, if you prefer, but be careful not to overprocess the mixture - it should have a little texture.
Spoon the baba ghanouj into a bowl, drizzle olive oil over the top, if you like, and serve with pita bread.
Makes about 2 cups (500 mL).
Excellent recipe and a success especially for my first attempt. I added a little more lemon juice based on my taste and wished I used a bit less tahini (wow, it is surprisingly peanut butter-like IMO) so in the future will finesse the tahini. Also like the idea of leaving the grilled eggplant in a colander. Much appreciated as are all the comments. We did use it as a dip rather than a sauce (but then it would have been Dip #1 rather than Sauce #3).
The recipe above looks good. I think I make mine with a little less lemon juice and a little more tahini. The most import facet of 'authentic' babaganoush is that the garlic should really 'pop.' More than 'pop' actually, burn. If the garlic doesn't burn your mouth, it isn't authentic.
And I definitely would never classify this as a sauce. It's a dip.
I agree with you that Baba is a condiment or dip rather than a sauce.
However, I don't believe that garlic should be the dominant ingredient.
I learned my baba from my friend's Lebanese mother, and that is not how she made it at all.
Since eggplant is a naturally bitter vegetable, the substantial amount of lemon (acid) is necessary to round out the overall flavor.
I would never have even thought about doing that but why not give it a shot? I mean, it's absolutely not going to be an authentic baba ghanooj, but it could possibly be good anyway. Hint: grill zukes, chop finely and press out excess water before mixing with other ingredients. Let us know if you try this.
From a Lebanese friend:
Hummus loves garlic, but too much garlic can ruin a baba... i always put in less ingredients (except eggplant of course) than I think I will need and then add to taste. I always use the BBQ method
From an Egyptian friend:
.....Add more garlic!
Hmmmm... maybe in different parts of the Middle East they treat their baba differently. My Egyptian friends and the Egyptian restaurants I've frequented in NYC all use napalm levels of garlic in their baba (and relatively little in their hummous).
And yes, baba isn't nearly as good without the smokey note of the grill. You can get some char with a broiler, but not nearly as much smokeyness as with a grill.
Not sure where you're located Tom but, I go to my local persian/armenian market purchase a good hummus then at home grill egpplants whole on the BBQ. Once cooled somewhat, I wash off the skin and slice/shred/chunk up the eggplant and add to the already made hummus. That's it! The hummus has to be really good tho- mucho garlic, thick and very fresh. Once assembled, drizzle a bit of EVOO on top and wella! No effort at all. Fab on lavosh, pita and this wonderful Lebonese bread with sesame that I buy that's made/baked on stone walls! :)kq
re: Kitchen Queen
I've eaten babaganouj/hummous mixes before and they were quite delicious, but they're definitely a far cry from babaganouj.
What I do resonate with is your Middle Eastern market suggestion, except not to obtain hummous but to obtain the freshest possible tahini. Fresh tahini makes all the difference in the world in baba and hummous. I travel 45 minutes to a Syrian grocer to get my tahini. It's worth every second/every drop of gas.