- Serves 4
- 40 minutes
- Difficulty Medium
- 17 Ingredients
An easy Lebanese dish which can be both a vegetarian dip and a non vegetarian dish.
Ingredients (serves 4)
- 2 large eggplant/aubergine/brinjal (purple variety)
- 1 big lemon
- 1/4 cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
- 2 garlic cloves
- Salt, to season
- 2 tbsp natural yoghurt
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 500g minced lamb
- 2 medium onions, finely chopped
- 1 hot red chilli, finely chopped
- 2 large tomatoes, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tbsp chilli paste/sauce
- Salt, to season
- Freshly milled black pepper, to season
- 2 tbsp ghee/clarified butter
- 2-3 tbsp pine nuts, toasted
- To make the Baba ghanouj: Grill the eggplant till the outsides are really charred and the flesh inside has become soft. (I do it on the stove top but you can use an oven or a charcoal fire). Cover with a cloth and keep aside for 2 minutes.
- Peel the skin off while still warm; cut and chop the flesh roughly.
- Place in a mortar and pestle, food processor or grinder and add garlic, tahini, yoghurt and half of the lemon juice. Blend for a minute or two.
- Season with salt and check the taste. Add more tahini or lemon juice if necessary.
- Transfer to a large serving plate and drizzle the olive oil on top. If you prefer a creamier consistency, add the olive oil and blend again (Note – Some households add parsley too though I didn’t).
- To make the minced lamb topping: In a large pan, heat ghee and add the minced lamb; fry for a couple of minutes till it has browned lightly.
- Add the diced onions, followed by the rest of the ingredients except pine nuts. Fry till the tomatoes have broken down and the moisture absorbed.
- Toast the pine nuts taking care not to burn.
- Cool slightly and spoon over the baba ghanouj.
- Garnish with the toasted pine nuts.
- Though a tabbouleh would have been a good accompaniment to the meal, I made an avocado salsa along with Lebanese pita breads to complete the meal.
Now this is a dish for both the vegetarians and non vegetarians. If you eat lamb, you can enjoy the whole dish but if you don’t, then you still have the Baba Ghanouj – a deliriously flavoursome dip with the smokiness of the roasted eggplants married with the creamy nuttiness of the tahina (sesame seed paste), some tanginess from the yoghurt and a good drizzle of olive oil and lemon. And top it off with some gently spiced lamb mince and toasted pine nuts.