There are many different styles of Baba Ghanoush – and many different add-ins. Levant (Eastern Mediterranean) styles often mix in diced onions or tomatoes, and Egyptian and Israeli styles include tahini, lemon and even hard-boiled egg. Lebanese versions may include pomegranate seeds and/or syrup. Iranian styles often add cumin. Some of the dishes are smoky, smooth and creamy, and some are garlicky and chunky. I alternate between making it smooth and chunky, depending on my mood. Whatever version I make though, it always has enough garlic to fend off even the thirstiest vampire!
This version of baba ghanoush is chunky and more homestyle. It has a very smooth taste, despite the use of two garlic cloves to just one eggplant. It does not have the smoky taste of some versions – but you could easily add this yourself by cooking your eggplants outside on the barbecue. This version has the eggplant baked in the oven, and once cooked the skin is removed – although some versions do contain some of the skin for added texture I have also added some cumin in this recipe – just a 1/4 teaspoon. Adding more will also add that smoky flavor, if that’s the profile you are after.
I am rather partial to pomegranates, I must say – I planted a tree last year, and this year it appears to have the very beginnings of lots of fruit! I love to juice them – it turns out nothing like the bottled version you can buy in stores, that’s for sure! They also remind me of a dear Lebanese friend of mine, who unfortunately passed away recently. Her baba ghanoush was one of the best I have ever had; very garlicky and studded with pomegrate seeds. A perfect summer meze dish. She didn’t add tahini to hers, but here I have added just a little – and its earthy, nutty flavor really balances out the sweetness of the pomegranate. You can buy Pomegranate Molasses or Syrup from most Mediterranean grocery stores. If not, Amazon has it for purchase from various vendors. If you cannot find it – then just leave it out.
Just cut the eggplants in half, score the surface and sprinkle with a little salt and olive oil. Bake flesh side down on a foil-lined baking sheet for about 30-35 minutes at 425F. You can also put them in a hot barbecue for a more smoky taste.
After they have cooked, you will need to leave them to cool. When they are cool enough to handle, scrape the flesh away from the skin and put the pieces into a sieve or colander to drain for around 30 minutes. This will remove any bitter juices and ensure your finished dish has a nice, thick consistency.
This dish is really a mix of all the different ingredients and styles that I prepare from time-to-time. I like the addition of coriander and the sweet pomegranate, drizzled on at the end with some really good quality olive oil.
- 1 large Eggplant (Aubergine)
- 2 Cloves Garlic, Finely Chopped
- Juice ½ Lemon
- ¼ tsp Cumin Powder
- Large Handful Coriander Leaf (Cilantro), roughly chopped
- 2 T Tahini
- Good Pinch of Salt
- ¼ cup / 50ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Plus extra to serve
- 1 t Pomegranate Syrup (Optional - To Serve)
- 1 T Pomegranate kernels,(Optional - To Serve
- Roast eggplant for about 35 mins, at 425 F
- Let cool, scrape meat from the skin and drain in a sieve for about 30 mins, to remove any bitterness.
- Roughly mash eggplant.
- Add garlic, lemon juice, cumin, tahini, olive oil and salt and mix with a spoon. Taste to check seasoning, adding more salt or lemon if desired. Fold in the coriander leaf.
- Cover and refrigerate for about an hour.
- To serve, spread on a plate, sprinkle over the pomegranate kernels, pomegranate syrup and olive oil.
- Add extra sprinkling of coriander if desired.