Baba Ganoush or Baba Ghanouj as it is sometimes called, is, alongside tahina, one of the most popular side dishes in Egypt and it can be served with every meal. It is a great addition to a salad or to lunch or dinner, especially when eating fish, and can also be served as a separate dish for breakfast, lunch or dinner. It is a perfect dish for vegetarians and is healthy also.
Baba Ganoush owes its slightly smoky aroma and taste to the eggplant cooking over the flames. In the past, it was done over a hearth or fire located in or near houses. Nowadays, we can recreate this process using a gas cooker or grill.
Baba Ganoush is mostly found in oriental cuisine from the Middle East, but you can also find similar dishes in Bulgaria and India. The common element is, of course, eggplant and sesame paste or tahini. The additional ingredients may vary slightly, depending on the country or region.
The Arabic bābā means "father", while ghanoug could be a personal name. The word combination is also interpreted as "father of coquetry" or "indulged/pampered daddy."
Below you will find the list of ingredients needed, and the preparation method.
- 2 medium eggplants
- 2 tablespoons of tahina (sesame paste)
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 1 small natural yoghurt
- Spices: 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of pepper, 1 teaspoon of cumin
The washed and dried eggplants are removed from the leaves, leaving only the stalk. Prick the eggplants with a fork and then hold the eggplant over the burner of the gas cooker and singe it thoroughly on each side. It will take about 15 minutes.
After charring the eggplant, put it on the oven rack, lined with aluminum foil or in an oven proof dish.
Put them into the preheated oven at 200 degrees for about 30 minutes, until the insides of the eggplant are soft.
NOTE: If you do not have a gas cooker, you can bake the eggplant in the oven, it will take about an hour. However, you will not get the characteristic smoky aroma and flavour if cooking the eggplant this way.
After taking the eggplants out of the oven, remove the skin and put the pulp into a bowl. Add tahina, crushed garlic, lemon juice, spices, olive oil and yogurt. Stir them together while grinding the eggplant flesh.
The paste can also be mixed with a blender, however, it will then be a smooth paste rather than the rustic, original Baba Ganoush.
The finished Baba Ganoush can then be served with olive oil and sprinkled with finely chopped parsley or coriander.
Enjoy your meal and the flavours of the Middle East!!
Would you like to sample excellent Egyptian cuisine and get to know the tastes of this beautiful country? Check out our tours for more details!