Baba Ganoush

Flame-grilled eggplant whipped into a dip. Wars have been fought over less.

This dish works best over an open flame such as a gas stove, barbecue or charcoal, but you can achieve a similar result in a very hot pan or oven.


  • Eggplants (European work best)
  • Olive oil
  • Tahini
  • Lemon
  • Salt
  • Garlic (optional)
  • Cayenne (optional)
  • Cumin (optional)
  • Parsley (optional)
  • Smoked paprika (optional)
  • Pine nuts (optional)
  • Pomegranate seeds (optional)


Start by roasting your eggplants. Take whole eggplants and place them as close to whatever heat you’re using as possible. The objective here is to char the outsides, leaving the inside moist and tender. If you have charcoal, put it directly next to – or on top of – the coals. If you’re using a gas flame, put it directly on the burner. It might smoke a little. Rotate every five minutes. You want to get an even char on the outside.

You can do this in a hot oven or pan, too. The rules are the same – leave it whole, rotate occasionally and don’t pierce or cut open. It may naturally let off some steam as it nears doneness – that’s OK.

After about half an hour, you should have totally charred, limp eggplants. Use tongs to put them into a bowl. Wrap or cover with a plate and leave for 15 minutes. This lets their own steam separate the skins from the flesh, making them easier to peel. This also works for roasting capsicums.

Fish them back out of the bowl and cut them in half lengthways. Use a spoon to scrape out the flesh and put in a mixing bowl. This is your gold. Discard the blackened skins. Use a fork to mash the eggplant thoroughly as you add – for two large eggplants’ worth of baba ganoush – tahini (3 tbsp), olive oil (6 tbsp), salt (3/4 tsp) and lemon juice (2 tbsp). This is your base baba ganoush. You can adjust any of these quantities to taste. Optional add-ins are minced or crushed garlic, cayenne pepper, chopped parsley or a tiny amount (1/4-1/2 tsp) of ground cumin.

Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with any or all of: olive oil, a pinch of smoked paprika, toasted pine nuts, pomegranate seeds.

Serve with warm pita bread or batons of vegetables – or simply use in a sandwich for an unbeatable smoky eggplant edge.

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