Ahh Baba Ganoush. Even the name is cool. While eggplant dip or aubergine dip is what this is, it’s so much more at the same time.
Baba Ganoush is smoky, soft and delicious. Hailing from the Arab and Levantine (Eastern Mediterranean) world, it’s also known as Baba Ghanoush and Baba Ghanouj. The name apparently derives from a daughter who made a pulpy mash for her toothless old father – what can I say – toothless or not, he was treated well with this one!
What’s in a name? – Eggplant Dip vs Aubergine Dip
As if the name for the dip wasn’t varied enough, the vegetable itself changes names across the English-speaking world. In both the US and Australia, the venerable veggie is known as an eggplant. And I should know, I had a job to pick them. I don’t mean it was difficult, I mean I was literally paid to pick them.
Across the water, in little ol’ Britain they know them as aubergines, and give confused looks to strangers who ask for eggplants. ‘What?! Eggs in a plant! Impossible, you crazy fool!’ is the reply you’ll likely get for asking.
Whether you call them eggplants or aubergines, you still need to know what you’re looking for in this Baba Ganoush/Baba Ghanoush.
Feeling fruity? How to pick the right aubergines or eggplants for your dip
- Pick an eggplant up and give it a squeeze – it should be firm, but not rock hard. If it’s squishy or you can easily press your finger into it then it’s a big no, no, no!
- Heavy is good – if you’re slightly surprised by the weight of a particular eggplant, you’re probably onto a winner. As long as it follows the rest of the rules, heavier = better.
- Taut, shiny and glossy – that’s how the skin should be. Dull, wrinkled, blemished, damaged = not good. Avoid!
- Stick with small to medium aubergines. Larger aubergines can be (but are not always) more bitter, so stay smaller to be sure.
- Use quickly – eggplants have a fairly short usage life, and the quicker you eat them the less bitter they are. Store in the fridge and try to eat within a day or two of purchase.
Follow those tips and only the finest, most edible aubergines will make it to your table.
Baba Ganoush or Baba Ghanoush – A No Brainer
We don’t feature aubergines/eggplants all that often on Hurry The Food Up, which is silly really, as they’re pretty spectacular from a nutritional point of view. Nasunin, among others, is one of the reasons for that. Shown to protect lipids in brain cell membranes from free radicals, these lovely veggies are getting some great scientific results behind them when it comes to brain health. What’s not to like? That daughter did good.
Baba Ganoush - The Father of all Eggplant Dips
Baba Ganoush - The Father of all Eggplant Dips. Flatbreads and pitas go perfectly with this beautiful fusion of Arab-Mediterranean cuisines.
- 1 handful pomegranate seeds
- 1 tbsp cilantro/ coriander
Pre-heat the oven to 180ºc.
Put the eggplants on a oven tray with a splash of olive oil and some salt.
Using a fork, poke a couple of holes in them.
Add the garlic cloves as well. No need to peel them.
Roast until tender ( 25-30 minutes).
Let the eggplants cool for a while, then slice them open and carve out the "flesh".
With a beater or food processor mix the eggplant flesh with the rest of ingredients (peel the garlic too before you throw it in).
Serve in a bowl with some paprika and a splash of olive oil for garnish. You can eat as a dip with pitas, flatbread or nachos or as a side dish of main course.
Stir in pomegranate seeds and cilantro to give this lovely Baba Ganoush an extra freshness kick.
IF YOU LIKED THIS RECIPE: then you may well be hankering after some hummus too - and the best homemade stuff is right here. If you’re looking for something with a little more kick then this salsa may be right up your street!
Visiting Barcelona and looking for a culinary experience? Check out Cristina's website for possible cooking classes. She's awesome!