Want to know How To Make Mediterranean Baba Ganoush from a long line of Syrian grandmas, who know this creamy, garlicky, smoky eggplant dip is the favored first cousin to hummus?
What Is Baba Ganoush?
Baba Ganoush is a creamy dip made from lightly smoked and roasted eggplant, sesame paste and spices.
Often served as a common appetizer on a meze spread, with carrot sticks, and other fresh veggies to dip into the creamy dip with a unique flavor.
Personally, I love it as a sandwich spread and often put a scoop into a soup stock, a great way to enjoy its flavor and health benefits.
Baba Ganoush The Favored Dip Of Middle Eastern Cuisine
Throughout the Middle Eastern world, it is most common to receive guests in your home with a spread of food on the table.
Not so much a ‘sit down’ meal but lots of small plates with a variety of easy appetizers to eat. Much like a Tapas spread in Spain.
For this style of eating, a variety of Middle Eastern dips have been created.
Of course there is hummus, made with chickpeas, sesame paste and a few other similar ingredients to baba ganoush.
How To Make A Variety Of REAL Mediterranean Appetizer Dishes
When I first decided it was time for me to write a cookbook, I knew there were already a gazillion cookbooks out there to teach people how to cook this or that.
However, I knew the experience from my childhood, with easy to prepare meze (tapas, appetizer), items was not going to be like other cookbooks.
It is as much the celebration of home gatherings as it is the recipes I cherish to prepare.
The World On My Plate, of course, is what I had to call it.
A lovely book filled with small plate recipes and stories that made them special for me.
And, of course, I created the book to be the size of a meze plate!
What’s Up With This Totally Funky Name
Basically, every region of the Middle East has their own way of spelling this dip, even though they all sound the same.
For me, it’s Baba Ganoush, while for others it’s Baba Ganouj, also Baba Ghanoush, but rest assured that nearly all Middle Eastern restaurants have their grandma’s version of her ‘ultimate baba ganoush’ recipe.
Why? If you know how moms raise their boys in that part of the world, you’d know why this is a grandma’s REAL recipe.
In translation from Arabic to English (probably twisted along the way), Baba, means father and Ghanoush means spoiled, so together we have ‘spoiled dad’, which most Mediterranean and Middle Eastern men have been spoiled by their mama!
Trust me I know first hand, but that’s a story for another time LOL!
Mediterranean Cooking incorporates such a vast variety of healthy ingredients, which makes for an endless variety of fabulous recipes.
My Syrian American mom lavished our table with healthy, delicious HOMEMADE foods, long before America became the health conscious guru it is today.
Baba Ganoush, hummus, roasted pepper spreads weren’t even sold in the grocery stores when I was a kid.
Imagine that! These ‘meze’ (appetizer/tapas), items were always made from scratch, and believe me, the taste is a gazillion times better than store bought.
Baba Ganoush is incredibly easy to make and a huge batch is as easy as a small batch.
Certainly, though, you really will want a large batch and freeze some in small pouches for future thaw and serve, or add to other recipes.
Let’s Talk About The Individual Ingredients In Baba Ganoush
Since Baba Ganoush, like so many Middle Eastern recipes, is prepares with healthy ingredients that may each need seperate preparation, let’s talk about those ingredients.
One of the most versatile veggies on the planet!
It can be made to taste sweet.
It has the substance to replace meat in a variety of casserole, soup or stew dishes.
Grill large slices of that beauty on open fire and you could almost believe it’s a steak.
In fact, put the entire, gorgeous whole eggplant onto an open fire or gas burner, to impart a little smoke flavoring and then head to your kitchen for the best dip, spread, tapas, appetizer ever!
Tahini is really just a paste made from sesame seeds, which kinda looks like peanut butter.
While it can be bought in most grocery stores in the international section, sesame seeds bought in bulk are inexpensive and making your own tahini is so simple:
- 10 ounce bag of sesame seeds, lightly toasted.
- Half cup of olive oil, pureed in a food processor until a thick paste is formed.
- That is it!
Hemp Seed Substitute
If sesame seeds are not your thing, are allergic, or even some special diets don’t allow ground sesame seeds, no worries.
I have made the most delicious Hemp Seed Tahini using the hemp seed hearts in exactly the same process as my homemade tahini (above), and it turns out beautiful!
While roasted garlic takes on an almost nutty flavor, adding depth and richness to food, raw garlic has a little heat to it, making for a spicy bite to homemade Baba Ganoush.
Either option is delicious in this eggplant dip, just depends what your preference is to the flavor that garlic imparts to your food.
Only a true garlic lover (which I am and even Grow My Own Garlic), will have an ‘absolute’ opinion about this!
This spice is one of those very distinct spices that are a mix of several spices.
When combined, they take on an entirely new character and flavor.
It is not essential in Baba Ganoush, but definitely authentic.
Last but not least, a good quality extra virgin olive oil is what will bring that warm fruity-like flavor to this creamy textured Baba Ghanoush recipe.
No other oil is going to compliment this eggplant dip as spectacularly as olive oil.
- Baking dish
- Food processor or a blender
- Citrus press
- Garlic press
- Measuring cup
- Measuring spoons
- Cutting board
- Chopping knife
REAL Mediterranean Baba Ganoush
- Food processor
- Fire to char
- Preheat oven to 350.
- For the best flavor and most authentic recipe, we want to impart a smoky flavor to the eggplant whole, preferably on an open flame, hot coals, over a gas stove or over a gas burner, leaving charred skin and smoky taste inside the flesh of the eggplant. To do this, take a fork or small knife and poke holes all around the skin of the eggplants. This allows the smoke flavor to enter inside the eggplant flesh. Do this only until you have lightly charred eggplant.
- Wrap the eggplants in aluminum foil, place eggplants on a baking sheet, and put them into the oven to continue cooking the roasted eggplant until it is soft to the touch. The timing will depend on the size of the eggplants. Remove and allow to cool while still wrapped. This step can be done in advance and left out room temperature until you are ready to make the dip.
- In a food processor or blender, scoop out the roasted cooked eggplant flesh and place in the machine, adding the remaining ingredients, except herbs for garnish. Puree until you have a creamy dip. Serve in a serving platter or bowl with fresh herbs scattered across the top, or store in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to serve.
- Baba ganoush flavor is elevated when the eggplant can be charred or smoked on a grill or open fire.