In Arabic, “baba” means father and “ghanoush” means spoiled. This “spoiled dad” dip is the creamier companion to hummus, and if you’ve never tried it you’re in for a treat. Baba ghanoush is popular in countries throughout the Middle East. In Israel, it is known as eggplant salad, or salat hatzilim. In my home, it’s known as irresistible.
I used to think you needed to add bells and whistles to babaganoush to make it tasty… spices, lemon juice, etc. My Classic Babaganoush recipe includes cumin, lemon and a little cayenne for heat. It’s a great recipe and readers love it, but lately I’ve been craving a creamier, more simple dip. I’ve pared my original recipe down to four simple ingredients… roasted eggplant, tahini, garlic and salt. Magically, that’s all you need to create a really creamy, really scrumptious dip.
Mayonnaise is sometimes added to baba ghanoush to enhance the creamy texture (I love mayo, but not in my eggplant dip!). With the following recipe, you don’t need any mayo to make it creamy. All of that creamy goodness comes from tahini, a smooth paste made from toasted sesame seeds. Tahini is sold by the jar in Middle Eastern markets and at most health food stores; the creamier the tahini is, the creamier your dip will be. Roasting the eggplant gives it a wonderful smoky flavor, especially if you cook it over a gas flame. Serve it with warm pita bread, crackers or crudites.
We eat it by the spoonful. This stuff is highly addictive. You’ve been warned!
- Roast the eggplant; roasting over an open flame is recommended and will produce a smokier, richer flavor. For instructions, click here. Place the roasted eggplant pulp into a bowl with half of the smoky cooking liquid. Discard the skin and reserve the remaining cooking liquid. Let the eggplant return to room temperature.
- Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl. Use a fork to stir well, breaking up any stringy pieces of eggplant, until the mixture is smooth and creamy. If the mixture seems too thick, stir in more of the cooking liquid. Taste the dip; add additional garlic or salt to taste, if desired.
- Serve dip at room temperature or chilled, depending on preference, with pita bread, crackers or veggies for dipping. Garnish with a little paprika or smoked paprika if desired.