Baba Ganoush translates as ‘pampered father’ and is a staple of any mezza in the Middle East.
I love this recipe!
I have no doubt you will love this Baba Ganoush recipe also.
Referred to at times as the ugly stepsister of hummus, it definitely has its own charms.
I personally can’t get enough eggplant.
In the Middle East, it is a staple in our diet.
We’ve come up with so many ways to use this delicious vegetable.
This is one of my favorite ways to enjoy it.
People can be deterred from using eggplant in their recipes due to not knowing how to cook it.
Once you’ve learned the trick, I hope you’ll be using it more in your everyday cooking.
What is Eggplant?
Or aubergine if you’re from anywhere other than the USA!
It’s a funny question but a lot of people don’t have a lot of eggplant in their day-to-day diet.
Eggplant is a superfood, and is very flexible as an ingredient.
It can be included in meaty and vegetarian dishes alike to add extra substance and flavor.
Eggplant is part of the nightshade family which includes tomatoes, potatoes, and peppers, and is packed with goodness.
Eggplants grow like tomatoes and hang from the vines of a plant that can grow up to several feet in height!
There are many different varieties of eggplant and they all range slightly in taste and texture.
These many varieties make this vegetable super versatile in terms of taste.
Eggplants are generally described as having a bitter taste that is quite pleasant and a spongy texture.
There are over 10 different varieties of eggplant that can be harvested and consumed.
Some are named from how they look – like the stripped graffiti eggplant.
Some are named based on their country of origin – like the Japanese/Chinese or Italian eggplant.
I had the most amazing Japanese eggplant whilst in Tokyo this year.
We visited a small izakaya (a Japanese pub essentially) in the Shimokitazawa neighborhood.
Out of all the dishes we tried, the eggplant was by far my favorite.
It was simple, yet packed with flavor!
I tried to recreate it when I returned home with not much luck.
It can be hard to source non-Middle Eastern ingredients here in Jordan so it was lacking that distinctive Japanese taste.
We’re heading back to the USA and UK soon so I will add it to our list of ingredients to source.
I think this is the only negative thing about living in a country like Jordan.
It’s very difficult to get certain products.
As the postal service is non-existent, there’s no way to get things delivered.
However, on the flip side is the access to fresh local ingredients that are perfect for Middle Eastern cooking!
On my last trip to the Valley, I was able to buy a small crate of eggplants for 2JD ($2.80).
I haven’t lived anywhere else yet where I can get that kind of deal!
What is Baba Ganoush?
Baba Ganoush is a thick roasted eggplant dip or spread and is common in eastern Middle Eastern cuisine.
It can be made from various ingredients but typically consists of ground eggplant and sesame seeds, olive oil, lemon, and garlic.
Baba Ganoush is usually served as an appetizer in countries like Iraq, Armenia, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, Egypt, and Turkey.
This dish often draws comparisons to Hummus which also originated in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Hummus is made from chickpeas however instead of grilled or roasted eggplant like Baba Ganoush.
Both dishes are served with similar side dishes like pita bread and raw vegetables.
If you find yourself being a huge fan of Hummus you should definitely give Baba Ganoush a try!
The process to make both dips are almost identical and call for the same kitchen utensils.
I especially love this dish for its smoky flavor.
There aren’t many dishes that replicate the taste of this dish, which is what makes it unique.
I always find eggplant to be a real comfort food.
So Baba Ganoush is always a go to in any mezze platter!
From fiber to several crucial vitamins, eggplant also contains anthocyanin.
This is a red-blue flavonoid plant pigment which has been found to help drop blood pressure.
Also full of antioxidants, which can help ward off certain cancers.
It also gives you good heart health; eggplant should be a must in any diet.
One of my favorite sandwiches is grilled eggplant simply sprinkled with sumac and a little bit of salt.
Drizzle with olive oil and stuff in a fresh piece of pita bread.
It tastes like a bit of heaven.
If you haven’t tried this before, I would urge you to give it a go.
You will be pleasantly surprised.
Do I Need a Gas Stove to Cook Eggplant?
You don’t need a gas stove top or flame to cook your eggplant.
I actually prefer to bake my eggplant in the oven.
The method is a lot easier.
You just pop them on a tray, let them cook and then take them out.
With cooking on a gas stove, you’re at a constant fear of burning yourself!
Cooking is all about making it work for yourself, your kitchen and your environment.
We all have to adapt as chefs.
If one way doesn’t work, you can bet there will be another 3 solutions!
How to Prepare Eggplant
When preparing an eggplant for cooking the first step is to trim off the top and bottom of the eggplant.
Make sure to remove the stems and leaves also.
You can either keep the eggplant flesh on or peel it using a peeler or a knife.
Next you will cut the eggplant into pieces of your desired thickness.
This can range from ½ inch to 1 inch thick slices.
To season the eggplant you will place it on a baking sheet lined with towels.
Then add salt to the top side.
The eggplant should be spread in a single layer for the salting process.
This is needed in order to make sure each piece is coated properly.
Now let the eggplant rest for 20 – 25 minutes to allow for the salt to penetrate.
Once the time has elapsed blot the eggplant with paper towel to remove excess salt and liquid.
Sweating the eggplant like this adds a nuttier flavor to the eggplant.
This will ensure all of the dishes you use it in will taste much better.
How to Cut Eggplant
It seems like a simple question but it’s one I get asked a lot.
To cut an eggplant you must first make sure it is properly cleaned.
You can clean the eggplant by running it under cold running water then wiping dry with a paper towel.
Trim the stem off from the eggplant and peel it using a peeler or sharp knife.
You can optionally brush the peeled flesh with lemon juice to minimize browning of the eggplant.
Now, slice the eggplant in half lengthwise, cut each half into quarters lengthwise.
Cut each of those in half to make smaller more manageable eggplant chunks.
You can also cut an eggplant in circles as well.
Just lay it horizontally and cut slices about 1cm thick.
This will work for most recipes.
I like to use this method for making Maklouba.
This method also works well for dishes such as an Eggplant Bake.
Whatever the method, you’ll be able to figure the best cut for the dish you are preparing.
How to Make Baba Ganoush
To make Baba Ganoush you first place whole eggplants on tray.
Then poke each eggplant three times with a fork to break the skin.
This is to make sure the eggplant doesn’t explode during cooking.
Bake the eggplant at 390°F (200°C) for one hour or until it is thoroughly cooked.
After cooking scoop out the insides of the eggplants, place in a bowl and discard the skins.
Use a potato masher or similar utensil mash up eggplant completely.
Add onions, tomatoes, salt, garlic lemon juice, and tahini then stir until completely mixed with a rough consistency.
Place on a plate, garnish with chopped parsley, top with extra virgin olive oil.
Pair the Baba Ganoush with pita bread, crostini or crusty French bread.
The wonderful thing about Baba Ganoush is how forgiving it is to make.
You can make it exactly how you like it.
Want more tomatoes? Put in more tomatoes.
Like a bit more garlic or tahini, or less of any ingredient?
Go for it, make it just how you like to eat it.
If you like it a bit spicy, add a chopped up hot pepper and stir.
Toast some pita with a bit of olive oil sprinkled on it, and make it into crackers.
Top with the baba ganoush for a crunchy treat!
This dish is perfect for lunch, dinner or even a snack.
And whatever the occasion, it always looks great presented.
Let me know in the comments below if you liked this recipe.
If you did like it, please make sure to give it some stars!
Equipment I Used
Here is a list of the equipment I used for this great recipe:
- Good Cook Baking Tray
- Pyrex Mixing Bowl
- OXO Potato Masher
- Drizom Citrus Juicer
- M Kitchen World Silicone Spatula
Baba Ganoush Ingredients
Baba Ganoush Recipe
- Place whole eggplants on tray. Poke each eggplant three times with a fork to break the skin. (This will ensure your eggplant doesn't explode in the oven.) Bake at 390°F (200°C) for one hour or until the eggplant is thoroughly cooked.
- Once cooked scoop out the insides of the eggplants and place in a bowl. Discard skins.
- Using a potato masher or similar utensil mash up eggplant until completely mashed.
- Add onions, tomato, salt, garlic lemon juice, and tahini.
- Stir until completely mixed with a rough consistency.
- Place on a plate, garnish with chopped parsley, top with extra virgin olive oil.