Baba Ghanoush is a fairly simple dip to make and is a great alternative to hummus for those of us to try to stay away from legumes. However, my issue with it has always been two things: the garlic (it's far too overpowering) and the colour (which is just flat and uninteresting). I've found some simple ways to overcome this which I hope you will appreciate too.
Firstly, roast the garlic! Raw garlic is so potent and you can taste it on your mouth for days. Pretty unpleasant in my opinion. I'll explain how to do this in the METHOD. Secondly, add a little turmeric to make it yellow. As you can see from my pictures, the colour is just so much more lively than the usual beige...for those of us who are aesthetically inclined.
THIS RECIPE MAKES APPROXIMATELY 400G (A SMALL BOWL TO SHARE BETWEEN 4)
Three medium sized eggplants (700g approx)
5 medium sized garlic cloves
4 tbs tahini
3 tbsp lemon juice
100ml olive oil
2 tsp coriander powder (toast and grind from seeds)
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano/zaatar (Levantine wild thyme spice mix)
1 tsp smoked paprika (Pimentón Ahumado - I have only found this smoked paprika in Argentina. If you're not here then Paprika will suffice)
salt & pepper to taste
Start by roasting both the eggplant and the garlic together. Pierce the eggplant with a fork and then place on a rack in the oven for 30 minutes at 180ºC or until the eggplant is soft inside. The softer the better in terms of flavour, however, be careful not to overcook as it will dry out inside. Place the whole garlic cloves in the oven with the eggplant. Remove them after 15/20 minutes.
Once the garlic is cooked you should be able to easily peel it and squeeze out the soft garlic inside as a paste. Set aside in a bowl and add all other ingredients; spices, tahini, olive oil and lemon juice.
At this point the eggplant should be done. Remove it from the oven and slice in half scooping out the soft eggplant out into a food processor/blender and leaving the skin behind. I use a towel to handle the eggplant as I find it blends better when it's piping hot.
Add the spice mixture in with the eggplant and blend. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with sweet potato wedges, raw veggie slices or as a condiment to sandwiches or salads.
I was taught this recipe by Chef Dave, while working with him on a farm in rural Argentina. I've only changed the method a little to suit the more health conscious! I learned so much over the (almost) year I worked with him so wanted to take note of that.