It took me a while to discover this dish because, like much of Middle Eastern cuisine, the exotic names on these dishes in restaurants and on blogs can make trying them a bit tougher sometimes. These days I try to be braver about what new dishes I try – after admiring the images that come alongside different dishes, I skip straight to the ingredients to see if it will be something I like. I remember wanting my cousin to experience some Middle Eastern cuisine when she visited me in Abu Dhabi, so I nudged myself into getting a few dishes out of my comfort zone from a local Lebanese restaurant – Baba Ghanoush being one.
Traditionally, this Levantine dip or appetizer is made from mashed aubergine with added tahini or sesame seed paste, the aubergine is baked over a flame until the pulp inside is softened, and variation in the recipe can be found among Arabian countries. My version doesn’t involve any open flames, nor does it include sesame seed paste. It a very easily made, healthy, feel good recipe that is full of a lot of the good stuff. People normally eat this dip with pita bread; I try to go with wholegrain pita bread or else some carrot sticks to dip into it. This has a nice salmon-like texture which I enjoyed and it also leaves you full afterwards.
• Aubergine, x2
• Garlic clove, 1
• Lime, ½
• Chilli flakes, ½ tspn
• Sumac powder, ½ tspn
• Olive oil, 1 tblspn
• Salt & pepper to taste
This recipe serves two to three people and is:
1) Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
2) Prick the aubergine about six times with a fork and place them on a baking tray and into the oven for 30 minutes.
3) With five minutes to go, chop the garlic and fry it off on a pan.
4) After the 30 minutes are up, cut the aubergine in half and scoop out the softened pulp with a spoon from the in one direction.
5) Add all of the pulp to a mixing bowl and mash it well with a fork or a pestle. Add in the garlic cloves, lime juice, chilli flakes, sumac powder, olive oil, salt & pepper and mix very well before serving.
6) Garnish with some fresh parsley and a drizzle of olive oil.