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Feb 10, 2009 09:22 PM

It's Baba Ganoosh time

Knowing how good it can be, I've developed a hankering, but I don't have a good recipe, so I turn to you all to supply one (or more). And you correspondents in the Middle East or those who have lived and cooked there, don't be shy. I'd love to get a recipe variant from every country in the area for comparison and contrast. Thank you all in advance.

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  1. Set up a bbq with hot rocks or heat beads. toss the eggplants on the embers and toast them till soft, smoking the skins. This is important.
    You can roast them in the oven but the taste is way inferior.
    If you must, you can add smoke flavour, but it just isn't done.

    Scrape the soft eggplant,out of the skin, and beat with tahini, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper.
    Finish with a spoonful of sour cream.
    Some garnish with fresh crushed garlic, and lemon juice is a nice seasoning.

    Eat with Lebanese bread, pita bread, or better still Egyptian bread.\
    Also great garnished with chopped green spring onion and eaten with torn chunks of fresh crusty ciabbata or hearth bread.

    11 Replies
    1. re: chefshane

      Yes, skin charing is important, I agree, but if you would provide your preferred amounts of each ingredient, I would appreciate it.

      1. re: Joebob

        Some smoked paprika is nice too, especially since it's not grilling season here. I grill the eggplant in summer and oven bake in winter. And I like to use sesame oil instead of tahini.

        I season with cumin, cayenne, salt and mint. LOTS of lemon or lime juice.

        This is one recipe that I've never measured ingredients, it always comes out delicious.

        1. re: coll

          Even if it's not grilling season try to blacken skin on a burner at the stove. The char adds great flavor

          1. re: scubadoo97

            Sometimes I put it on broil at the end, I'll make sure to always do that from now on! (I have a gas stove so it should come out as good as on my gas weber, since I don't think I'll be doing the rock thing)

            1. re: scubadoo97

              I blacken my eggplants on the burner of the stove. To avoid a huge mess, I line the stove with tin foil, cutting large holes for the actual burners. That way cleanup involves crumpling up the foil and only scrubbing the small exposed areas.

              1. re: cheesecake17

                The foil lining is key to making cleanup easy. Unless you're my fobby father. He leaves the stove encased in foil like a plastic-entombed sofa in grandmother's house.

                1. re: JungMann

                  I know someone who covers her counters with foil!

                2. re: cheesecake17

                  Living on Oahu, I have a flat-top electric stove, but I will char by broiling. Fortunately, the oven is self-cleaning.

                  1. re: Joebob

                    I use disposable foil broil pans or foil cookie sheets if I'm broiling eggplants. Beats scrubbing a cookie sheet, even one lined with tinfoil.

          2. re: chefshane

            no sour cream on baba g!

            my knowledge is about lebanese-style baba g.
            the garlic goes *in* -- not *on* -- the dish. lemon is a must in the dish. olive oil is the condiment, not beaten in. pepper? not in my experience.


            1. re: alkapal

              Yeah- the lemon is definitely essential, espeially if you like to push the charred/smoky qualities to their limit (which is my preference). The seedy component of some eggplants can contribute a bitterness/astringency, and that seems to get mulitplied by the charred skin. Lemon juice always mitigates that astringency- it seems to me that the acid (low pH) in the lemon neutralizes the base (high pH) bitterness. I can't say for sure that is exactly why it is happening, all I know is that it works- if you need a quick fix for the astringency once you've tasted it, just add more lemon.

          3. If you haven't access to a barbecue, roasting the eggplant on a gas range is pretty effective (though messy). As chefshane said, roasting in the oven is inferior and will lead to a very bland product.

            I also squeeze the water out of the 2 roasted eggplant before pureeing with 6 tbsp. tahini, salt, the juice of half a lemon, 2 cloves roasted garlic, 1/2 tsp. cumin and perhaps a tablespoon of yogurt or sour cream. The garnish is olive oil, parsley and paprika, though I might try the recommendation of mint. All measurements are estimates as this one dish that I really make from sight and taste.

            1. Here's my recipe. I'm kind of picky about Baba Ghanoosh. I like it lemony, not too smooth and without any "enriching" ingredients.

              1 medium eggplant
              1/4 cup tahini
              1/4 cup lemon juice
              2 cloves garlic, squished
              Salt to taste
              Olive oil (optional)

              Prick eggplant all over with a fork, place the eggplant on a foil pan in a covered barbecue, and cook, turning once or twice, until the skin is charred and the insides are soft.

              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.

              Makes about 2 cups

              1. I'm right now making Tyler's Ultimate Baba and loving it, just added cilantro and need to give it another swirl:

                2 Replies
                1. re: lexpatti

                  I don't care what Tyler says, baba ghanjouj NEVER has cilantro. This is not a Middle Eastern herb.

                  1. re: pikawicca

                    the stuff really sings when garnished with Zatar -- a sumac-based mix of herbs also available at your Middle Eastern store. Zatar is what´s missing when some indescribable element just isn´t happèning in your mezzeh or baba or whatever. I won´t cook without it!