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Mar 30, 2007 05:29 PM

Help save bitter baba ghanouj

We love baba ghanouj from Middle Eastern restaurants. Tried making it myself for the first time. Roasted 2 eggplants and then removed some of the seeds but unfortunately not all... Added lemon juice, tahini, salt and minced garlic. The end product is bitter :(
What can be done to save my poor baba? Sugar, more lemon, more something else??

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    1. I make really good baba ghanouj and this is what I do: take a whole eggplant and pierce it in several places and shove in whole garlic cloves (I try to get at least three or four in there). Then just stick the whole thing in a hot oven and roast till the eggplant collapses. It's easy to peel after that and you can just scoop the flesh and by now, roasted garlic into the food processor or mini prep. Then, I add olive oil, lemon juice, cumin (not too much) paprika, tahini, puree the whole thing (or to a rough chop if you prefer) and if you have some on hand, plain yogurt to make it creamy. It's so delicious while it's still warm and not harsh tasting at all. Plus, really easy and quick to make (no cutting, salting, etc. of the eggplant).

      1. Did you blacken the eggplants and peel off the skin? The smokey flavor makes such a difference. If you just roast it, make sure it's very soft. Sounds like you used the right ingredients, and unless your proportions were off, maybe you just got some bad eggplant.

        1. You don't need to remove the seeds, just the juice. Here's my method; I've been doing it since I was a young girl. I make it to taste, so you might want to go with one lemon at first, then add more juice if you think it's necessary.

          2 italian eggplants
          2 lemons
          1/4-1/2 C tahini
          Finely chopped garlic (as much as you like)
          Olive oil
          Flat leaf parsley

          Preheat the grill to medium high. Prick the eggplants and place them on the hot grill. Cover if possible and leave until they're nice and black on the bottom. Turn them over and let them cook until they have collapsed.

          Let cool briefly, then place them on a platter and cut them open. Raise one side of the platter using another plate or something similar, and position the platter so that the eggplant juice can drain into the sink or something.

          After about a half hour help to drain the eggplant juice, then scoop the flesh out into a bowl or platter. Squeeze the lemon(s) over the top. Add some tahini and garlic (less than you think you'll need at first), and mash it all together. Add salt, taste, and add more garlic, salt, or tahini as you see fit. Stir in some good olive oil.

          One thing I've learned over the years is that as the garlic chopper, I'm not terribly sensitive to the garlic flavor. So I try to put in a bit less than what I think is necessary. This usually works out well.

          Mound onto a plate and decorate with lots of drizzled olive oil and chopped flat leaf parsley.

          1. I don't think any of this was your fault. I've found that some eggplants are just more bitter than others. When I make baba ghanouj I just roast the eggplants whole on the barbecue until black, then use all the pulp, including the seeds and juice. Once in a while you just hit a bad eggplant and it's bitter. Honey or other sweetener might help, but you may just be throwing good honey after bad eggplant.