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Mike Wolfberg's Recipe for Baba Ghannooj

2 medium-sized eggplants weighing a total of about 3 lb.
Buy firm, fresh eggplants with bright purple skin, rather than soft dark ones.

5 1/2 Tbl. sesame tahini
This is a crucial ingredient; Sahadi brand is the best; this used to be easy to find; it can be found today at Middle Eastern grocery stores in Belmont, MA, such as Eastern Lamejun Bakers.

4 medium cloves garlic
peeled and sliced in half lengthwise, and the mature centers discarded

2 tsp. dried parsley
I prefer Durkees for this, even though I prefer Spice Islands as a brand in general. A tsp. of Spice Islands dried parsley is used when serving.

2 Tbl. olive oil
I tend to use non-virgin Bertolli or Berio brands. Another 2 Tbl. of this oil is used when serving.

7 1/2 Tbl. fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 to 2 large lemons will yield this.

1 tsp. salt
or less if desired

almost 1/4 tsp. black pepper
such as fresh ground Malabar peppercorns

white or whole wheat pita bread
Avoid Sahara brand; Joseph's is a good brand; another bread that's good is Cedar's Stone-Ground Whole Wheat Mountain Bread.
  1. Wash and cut off the green stems of the eggplants. There are two possible cooking methods: grilling and baking - I prefer the taste of grilling the eggplants, since it provides a smoky flavor to the dip.

  2. Let the eggplants cool for about 10 minutes. Slice each one in half lengthwise and allow to cool further, and then drain. Such draining rids the eggplants of their bitterness; if you want some of that bitter taste, retain some of the liquid. Slice off about 1/4 inch from the stem end, and discard that slice.

  3. After another 10 minutes or so the eggplants are cool enough to handle. Get a non-metallic mixing bowl for collecting and then chopping the eggplant pulp. With your hands and a large spoon, separate the pulp from the clumps of seeds, and discard the seeds. There can indeed be a lot to discard. Use the spoon to scrape the pulp thoroughly from the skin. Discard the skin. This is a wonderfully messy process!

  4. Chop the pulp using a sharp knife until there are no discernable chunks or strings of eggplant. While doing this, remove any stray pieces of eggplant skin you might find.

  5. Combine all the ingredients in this order, stirring as you go: tahini, oil, pressed garlic, parsley, salt, and pepper. The garlic must be pressed through a garlic press - there is no substitute. A press with smallish holes is best.

  6. The baba is ready to serve as soon as the parsley has absorbed moisture, perhaps in about 30 minutes. The flavors are more vibrant when served the same day - this is recommended. It can be kept in the refrigerator, but should be served at room temperature.

  7. Spread the dip on a flat platter. Drip on another 2 Tbl. of olive oil. Sprinkle 1 tsp. of Spice Islands dried parsley, crumbling it in your hand as you move over the dip. My style of serving this with pita bread is just to put out some loaves of the bread (perhaps warmed briefly in the oven), and let folks break off pieces to serve as dippers. You could also serve this with raw onion sliced in half or quarters.

I find this dish is enjoyed more when it is served alongside the similar dip, hummus tahini, whose recipe is also available on my web site.


back to the top of this page This page, maintained by Mike Wolfberg, was last updated on February 06, 2009.