Baba means “father” in Arabic, and that’s the word my children use to call their dad. They’ve always loved the meze dish of baba ganoush. Whoever “ganoush” was, he was obviously liked and admired, with this popular Lebanese dish living on with his name in the majority of Middle Eastern households.
My Syrian friend in the UK makes a scrumptious version of baba ganoush with a few generous dollops of thick yoghurt mixed thoroughly with the tahini, lemon and crushed garlic before she adds it to the smoky mashed aubergine. Some recipes also say that a teaspoon of ground cumin adds a richness to the dish. However, I like my baba ganoush quite simple, with that smoky flavour being most prominent. This may be a bit of a challenge in Hong Kong though, if you don’t have a grill or oven to char your aubergine. I rapidly invested in a small, portable oven just to put my induction to shame, and now I’m back in business. The other alternative to that smoky flavour is a teaspoon of smoked paprika powder.
Prep time: 5 min
Cooking time: 35 min
- 1 medium aubergine, chargrilled or roasted
- 3–4 cloves garlic, crushed (depending on taste preference)
- juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tbsp tahini
- 1 tsp smoked paprika (if you can’t chargrill your aubergine)
- 2–3 tbsp olive oil (depending on taste preference)
- salt, to taste
- handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped finely
- Roast/grill the aubergine until it is charred and soft. Alternatively, you can microwave or steam it until it is tender and falling away from the skin. Roast/grill the garlic at the same time, making sure it does not burn.
- Mash the aubergine flesh in a bowl – you can make it quite textured or smooth, depending on your preference.
- Add the crushed garlic, lemon juice, tahini and salt and mix into the mashed aubergine. Here is also where you’d add the smoked paprika if you’re unable to chargrill the aubergine.
- Spoon the mixture onto a plate, drizzle with some olive oil and garnish with chopped parsley.
- Serve with warm pitta bread or flatbread.
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