Prep. time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour
Baba ghanouj is usually presented in a dish, topped with olive oil and a little chopped onion and parsley, served as an appetizer with Lebanese bread.
The eggplant is usually grilled first over an open flame, so that it absorbs the flavor of the wood used in the fire, whether pine cones or vine branches.
Another version, Batanjane Mtabbal, or eggplant purée with tahini (sesame paste), can be made by simply replacing the garlic cream with sesame paste. This recipe is found in many Arab countires, though Lebanon has the distinction of including sour grenadine syrup or pomegranate seeds. Sour grenadine syrup (rab er'remane) gives the dish a pleasant tang. You could replace it with a little vinegar or lemon juice.
- Prick the eggplant all over and grill it or roast it under the broiler for about 20 minutes until the skin blackens and splits;
- turn half way through, once the skin begins to pucker;
- remove from the heat; allow to cool; peel and remove the burnt parts;
- halve lengthwise; mash the flesh and then purée.
Sauce and finishing
- Mash the garlic and salt in a wooden mortar to a very fine paste.
- Gradually whisk in the olive oil.
- Add the sour grenadine syrup.
- Place the eggplant purée and garlic sauce into a large bowl and mix well.
- Finally add the finely chopped green chili.
- Garnish the border with pomegranate seeds and chopped flat leaf parsley.
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