Be careful, it's addictive and no other starter can satisfy your savoury cravings like it.
If you're looking to create a Middle Eastern dip that's not only bursting with flavour but also holds cultural significance, you're in the right place. In this recipe, we'll take you through the steps to make this authentic smoky, creamy eggplant dip, and we'll also delve into the rich history of Lebanese baba ganoush and its irresistible flavours.
What is Baba Ganoush?
Lebanese Baba Ganoush, also spelt as "baba ghanoush" or "baba ghanouj," has a long and illustrious history rooted in the culinary traditions of the Middle East. Its origins can be traced back to Lebanon and neighbouring countries, where eggplants have been cultivated for centuries. The word "baba" is an Arabic term that translates to "father" or "grandfather," indicating that this dish is an old and revered classic. The combination of smoky grilled eggplant, tahini, and other seasonings has been a staple of Lebanese cuisine for generations. Today, baba ganoush has gained international popularity and is enjoyed as a delectable appetiser, dip, or side dish.
Baba Ganoush Flavours
Baba Ganoush offers a unique and enchanting flavour profile that has captivated taste buds around the world. The smoky essence from grilling the eggplants infuses the dish with a rich, earthy undertone. The creaminess of tahini and the brightness of fresh lemon juice create a harmonious balance. A pinch of salt and pepper enhances the depth of flavor while fresh parsley adds a refreshing and herbaceous note. The optional use of sumac as a garnish introduces a touch of tartness and a visually appealing contrast. The result is a dip that is creamy, smoky, tangy, and utterly delicious, making it a perfect addition to your culinary repertoire.
Keyword Lebanese Baba Ganoush
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Rest Time 5 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 people
1 large Eggplant
1 Lemon, juiced
1 Garlic clove, diced
1/2 cup Tahini
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp fresh Parsley, finely chopped
1/2 tsp Sumac (optional, for garnish)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Preheat the Offset Smoker
Before you begin, gather all the necessary equipment and supplies. You'll need charcoal or a combination of charcoal and wood chunks for fuel, a chimney starter, long-handled tongs, a heat-resistant glove, and a grill grate that fits inside the firebox.
Start by ensuring that the firebox is clean and free from any ashes or debris from previous grilling sessions. Clean out the ash pan or tray beneath the firebox, if applicable.
If you're using charcoal, fill the chimney starter with the desired amount of charcoal, typically enough to cover the bottom of the firebox evenly. If you're using a combination of charcoal and wood, arrange the charcoal in the firebox with a few wood chunks on top.
Ignite the charcoal using a chimney starter. Place crumpled newspaper or fire starters in the bottom of the chimney, and then light it. Once the charcoal in the chimney is fully lit and ashed over (usually about 15-20 minutes), it's ready to be transferred to the firebox.
Using long-handled tongs and, if necessary, a heat-resistant glove, carefully pour the hot charcoal into the firebox of the offset smoker. Move the hot coals to one side of the firebox to create a an indirect cooking space. Make sure the damper on the firebox is open to allow airflow for combustion.
Close the lid of the firebox and control the temperature by adjusting the air vents. Opening the vents allows more air in, increasing the heat, while closing them partially reduces the heat. Keep an eye on the built-in thermometer or use a separate grill thermometer to monitor the temperature.
Place the grill grate on top of the hot charcoal in the firebox. Let it preheat for a few minutes to ensure it's hot and ready for grilling.
Grilling the Eggplants:
Pierce the eggplant in a few places with a fork or knife to allow steam to escape while grilling.
Place the whole eggplant directly on the grill grates. Grill for about 20-30 minutes, turning occasionally until the skin is completely charred, and the flesh becomes soft.
Remove the grilled eggplants from the heat and let them cool for a few minutes.
Peeling and Mashing:
Once the eggplants are cool enough to handle, peel off the charred skin, leaving only the soft flesh. Discard the skin.
Mash the grilled eggplant flesh in a bowl using a fork. Ensure there are no large chunks.
Flavouring the Baba Ganoush:
Add the lemon juice, garlic and tahini to the mashed eggplant and stir well until it forms a smooth paste.
Season with salt, and pepper to taste. Adjust the seasonings according to your preference.
Stir in the finely chopped parsley to the baba ganoush mixture.
Transfer the baba ganoush to a serving dish.
Drizzle extra virgin olive oil over the top for a rich and silky finish.
Sprinkle sumac over the baba ganoush for an extra layer of flavour and a pop of colour.