This delectable vegetable purée hails from the Middle East, and you might describe it as a lesser-known relative of hummus (made with aubergines, not chickpeas). It is known by various names, such as baba ghanoush, caviare d'aubergines, mutabbal and montabal. It has a delicious and distinctive flavour, so it is important not to omit the step of char-grilling the aubergines, which gives it that smoke-scented character. Serve it as a dip with pitta-bread, vegetable crudités, or anything else you enjoy to scoop it up!
Ingredients (Serves 4)
- 1 large aubergine (around 1 kg size)
- 1 small onion, coarsely chopped
- 3-4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- About ½ cup/100g olive oil
- 3-6 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tsp fresh parsley, or coriander
- Salt and white pepper to taste
- Pinch of cumin (optional)
- 4 slices pita
1.) Preheat the grill, or set gas ring on hob to a high flame.
2.) Pierce the aubergines in several places with a fork. Either cook over gas flame, or under grill until skin goes black and wrinkles, and flesh is soft.
3.) Let them cool, then halve lengthwise and scoop out the flesh, discarding the skin.
4.) Roughly chop the aubergine flesh and purée in a blender or food processor with the onion, parsley/coriander and garlic.
5.) Stir in enough olive oil to produce a creamy paste. Season with salt and pepper and add lemon juice to taste, and cumin, if using.
6.) Spoon into four small bowls, or one large one, cover and chill.
7.) Warm the pita bread according to the package instructions: heat in the oven or toast/grill briefly.
8.) Slice pita into strips and serve with the aubergine purée.
*Image courtesy Flickr creative commons.