Sunday 26 August 2018

Baba Ghanouj

Baba Ghanouj

A Levantine recipe that originated in what is now Syria. Literally translated, Baba Ghanouj is an homage to a much loved father. Old folklore tells an affectionate tale of a daughter's adoration toward her aged baba-father as she would help him eat his food easily by mashing up the ingredients. In this case, eggplant was mixed with a few pantry staples in their home. 

More commonly, the word (lost in translation) is referred to as Baba Ghanoush. 

There are many variations, strongly dependent on the geographical area you are eating it in, yet it is delicious in all forms. Served up with fresh, warm pita bread, it is perfect for any meal.

Baba Ghanouj served in eggplant shells, sprinkled with sumac and pomegranate seeds.

Makes 2 large bowls

Serves up to 15 people as a dip

2 egg plant
1 tsp salt
2 cloves of garlic
lemon juice of one fresh lemon
2 tbsp tahini (sesame paste)
1 tbsp parsley
2 tbsp olive oil
A pinch of sumac or anar dana ( pomegranate powder )
Pomegranate seeds to garnish

Optional ingredients

1 roasted red pepper, skinned and diced

1 tbsp yogurt

2 tbsp chopped sautéed onion

pinch of sugar

Preheat the oven to 180C |350 F. Split the eggplants into even halves. Brush the eggplants with olive oil and salt. Place them, cut side down, on a baking tray that has been lined with parchment paper. 
Cook for 45 minutes to an hour until cooked through. 
Allow it to cool. 

Mix together the scooped cooked eggplant,(take all the juices but leave the skin behind), garlic, lemon juice, salt, and tahini. Taste and add any of the optional ingredients. 

Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of sumac or anar dana powder. 


While it may be simpler to work with a food processor or with an immersion blender, it is traditional to keep hand cut chunky bits and not use a blender. Using a fork or an old fashioned potato masher may be an option. 

Once the eggplant is roasted, you can grill it or barbecue it for the smoky flavours if you so desire. Originally, the eggplant was smoked. 

While sumac is the traditional powder, made from the tart sumac berry , anar dana is a great substitute. 
Aaam choor, which is an Indian spice made from tart mangoes, is also a close replacement. 

Sugar is generally added to caramelise the eggplant while roasting. 

Roasted red peppers, onions, and yoghurt are not in the original recipe but can be good fillers if you need to make a larger quantity and pair well.

My published cookbooks are available for sale through myself and on Amazon.

The World of Parsi Cooking: Food Across Borders is a 3 award winning book. It has been self published in July 2019 and will be going into its second print in 2022. 

The Art of Parsi Cooking; reviving an ancient cuisine was published in 2016 by Austin Macauley and continues to be available through amazon book depot book depository and from the publishers.

Photo courtesy
Niloufer Mavalvala

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