Here is how I make Baba Ghanoush (baba ganush, baba ghannouj or baba ghannoug), that delightful middle-eastern and mediterranean mezze item that is essentially a cooked eggplant spread. In it's simplest form it contains eggplant, tahini, lemon juice, garlic and olive oil. After that, variations abound and here is how I make it.

The hardest part is the prep of the eggplant. Traditionally, the eggplant is roasted over a wood fire until it is baked through and the skin has charred. After it cools, the soft insides are scraped out and it is mashed with the other ingredients using a ghanuj, or pestle. Baba in Arabic means father and Baba Ghanoush is just "father of pestle." See Wiki for more historic details.

Anyway, we live in an age where a kitchen has modern conveniences and we tend to be in a hurry. So, I use a gas stove, microwave and food processor to produce a Baba that any Caliph would smack his lips over--in a fraction of the time!

Step 1: Roast and Cook the Eggplant

Roast your eggplant. I use a burner on the stove and a chef's torch (the thing you use to get the browned crust on a crème brûlée). I use a kitchen tong to handle the eggplant with.

Get a good char on the skin, but don't worry about cooking the eggplant through.

After you get a good char, put the eggplant in the microwave and cook it for 1-2 minutes. You will know it is done when it collapses (see photo).

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