This Mediterranean dip is a great alternative to hummus. Made from aubergines, it is famous for its rich smoky flavour. The natural spongy texture of an aubergine is perfect for soaking up flavour. The secret to this recipe comes from roasting the aubergines over an open flame to give them a really wonderful smoky aroma.
2-3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 cup sesame seeds
Juice of 2 lemons
½-1 tsp chilli flakes
50g greek yoghurt (optional)
1 tsp ground cumin
1-2 tbsp olive oil
Finely chopped parsley (optional)
Roast the aubergines on a barbeque or over the flames of a gas ring. Using tongs turn them frequently until the skins are blackened and the flesh is soft. Alternatively: prick all over with a fork, place in a roasting tin and cook in a pre-heated oven (200C/400F/Gas mark 6) for 25-40 minutes depending on size. Leave to cool, then peel.
Next for the tahini – Some specialist stores sell this in jars or cans, although it is increasingly hard to find. To make it yourself at home heat a small frying pan on a medium heat and gently toast off your sesame seeds with a drizzle of olive oil. Add to a food processor and blend until smooth; it is as simple as that.
Put the aubergine flesh into a bowl and mash to a rough paste along with the garlic and a pinch of salt. Stir in the tahini, lemon juice and chilli – At this point I like to add in some Greek yoghurt to make it extra creamy, but this is optional to taste.
Spoon your baba ganoush into a bowl, scatter with some cumin, trickle over some olive oil and sprinkle on some finely chopped parsley. Serve up with warm pitta or flatbread.