Recipe/ Salad/ Vegan/ vegetarian

Smoky Baba Ghanoush

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I love aubergines and never realised before that they require care, technique
and a delicate balance to get them just right. I mean, when aubergines are made perfectly they are luciously silky and melt in your mouth. There is nothing like making a stew and cooking it for hours only to result in raw lumps of aubergine bits still in it.

And this is why I absolutely adore baba ghanoush… or is it mutabbal? Well, Felicity Cloake and this blogger, Kano, seem to have tackled the issue and covered the variations with much detail. To be honest, I am not 100% sure or perhaps the issue is really my reluctance to add yoghurt to my dip, or perhaps it is that I find it a big ask to have to go out and hunt for pomegranate molasses. But on the other hand just imagine the excitement at the thought of 2 more recipes I could add to my culinary repertoire!!! But on the definition of the dip issue, if Kano’s advice is anything to go by, then indeed I would consider my recipe to be closest to mutabbal.

I first tried making what I thought was baba ghanoush after watching Silvena Rowe on the “My Kitchen” special of BBC’s Good Food channel. I am almost certain she had called her creation baba ghanoush but when I searched for it in order to refresh my memory, all I could find was a recipe for aubergine dip and a method involving soaking in water and lemon after charring, which I do not recall at all. Believe me I never would have bothered if I had been asked to follow her steps, but I admit I have been known to forget significant things in my days, such as the day my second child was born, but I digress.

The smokiness of the flame charred aubergine along with the nutty tahini, garlic, lemon juice and spices just creates something that is good enough to keep eating until it has completely disappeared. I tell no lie, I have made an entire batch disappear in one sitting… all by myself. Sometimes I wonder whether I can blame this on being with child and needing to eat… all the time! But perhaps a much more accurate diagnosis is the fact that I just love, love, love it!

On day 3 of my #22daysvegan challenge I took during Lent 2014, I had a wonderful aubergine in the fridge and thought to myself, as I was cooking something else for dinner, “why don’t I make some lush baba ghanoush?” I loved it so much that I almost ate the entire batch instead of my dinner.

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Step 1:

Take 1 aubergine and char it on the open flame of your gas stove until it appears completely collapsed and charred on every surface.

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Step 2:

Take the whole aubergine off the flame and place into a zip lock bag. Zip up and allow to steam itself as it cools for at least 20 minutes.

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Step 3:

Gather the following ingredients.
3 tbsp tahini
Juice of 1 lemon
2 garlic cloves finely crushed
1 tsp ground cumin
3 tbsp olive oil, use 2 to mix and 1 to garnish
1 tsp mild chilli powder
Sea salt flakes
A few leaves or lemon thyme to garnish

Step 4:

Proceed to peel off the skin and scoop out the aubergine flesh into a bowl. Add the other ingredients listed above. Crush and mix using a fork until silky, though it does not have to be smooth.

Garnish with the thyme and drizzle with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. You may also add a few red onion rings to serve.

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Enjoy with flat bread.

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