Citizens, my last recipe was posted to help clear up the tremendous confusion in the West between what we think of as baba ghanouj and the variant with tahini called mutabbal. We usually get Mutabbal here, NOT the true Baba!
As noted on norecipes.com:
Mutabbal (متبل, sometimes transliterated M’tabbal) is a delicious Levantine condiment made with smoky roasted eggplant and creamy tahina with pungent garlic and the citrusy tang of lemon juice. It makes for a delightful dip for flatbreads and veggies, but it can also be used as a condiment for roasted meats, or in sandwiches.
Although many people call this dish Baba Ghanoush (بابا غنوج), Mutabbal is a distinct Levantine meze. Baba Ghanoush is more like a salad; with roasted eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, walnuts mixed with lots of olive oil. Mutabbal, on the other hand, is a condiment made with roasted eggplant, tahina(tahini), lemon juice and garlic.
In the Middle East, there is zero confusion between the two but here in the west, we always make the mistake of assuming mutabbal is baba, and it just isn’t. Only in Syrian restaurants in the West is the differentiation consistently clear.
Now the name for the true baba is a story in and of itself! It comes from the Arabic phrase “baba gannuj”, in which baba can mean father or daddy (or an endearment), and gannuj can mean coquettish or pampered.
The dish, the OED says, was named “perhaps with reference to its supposed invention by a member of a royal harem.” So the pampered daddy may have been a sultan.
Thus, the term baba ghanoush literally translates as “my father is spoiled like a child by my mother”, which is actually quite an inappropriate name. It is never to be uttered at a traditional Arabic family gathering as the father would be insulted and the mother and children shamed. The more honorable name is badenjan mutabbal (eggplant dip).
It is not certain whether the word, bābā, refers to the eggplant (which is considered the big daddy of vegetables) or to a person indulged by this treat.
Needless to say, my version of Baba is truly authentic and I highly encourage you to enjoy this wonderful and healthy treat, rich in antioxidants! 🙂
Battle on – The GeneralissimoPrint
- 2 large eggplants, not the Asian variety
- ⅓ of a small red bell pepper
- 1 small tomato
- ½ cup parsley leaves, tightly packed
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 ½ tbsp pomegranate molasses
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ cup pomegranate seeds
- ½ cup walnuts, chopped
- Extra olive oil for garnish
- Eggplant Roasting Directions Steps are from Serious Eats:
- If using a gas burner or grill (recommended): Preheat a gas or coal grill to medium heat and place eggplants directly over heat source. Cook, turning occasionally with tongs, until completely tender and well charred on all sides, 30 to 40 minutes. Wrap with foil and let rest 15 minutes.
- If using the broiler: Adjust rack to 6 inches below broiler element and preheat broiler to high. Place eggplant on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Broil, turning occasionally, until charred on all sides and completely tender, about 1 hour. Eggplants should be very, very tender when cooked. Test near the stem and bottom ends. If a toothpick or skewer meets any resistance, continue cooking. (See note above.)
- Remove from oven and gather up foil, crimping it around the eggplants to form a sealed package. Let the eggplants rest for 15 minutes.
- Open foil package. Working one eggplant at a time, use a sharp paring knife to slit it open lengthwise. Carefully scoop out soft flesh with a large spoon and transfer to a strainer set in a large bowl. Once all eggplant is scooped, pick out any stray bits of skin and blackened flesh and discard.
- Leave to drain for 30 minutes, then whiz briefly in a food processor.
- Meanwhile, finely chop the red bell pepper, tomato, and parsley.
- Once eggplant is soft, peel off the charred skin. Finely chop the insides of the eggplant or mash with a fork. Alternatively, pulse a few times in the food processor for a smoother consistency. Transfer to a bowl and mix in salt, olive oil, garlic, pomegranate molasses, walnuts, and half of chopped parsley.
- Fold in half of the chopped tomatoes, bell peppers, and pomegranate seeds, reserving the rest for topping.
- Drizzle baba ghanoush with some extra olive oil (TFD likes a lot of oil!). Top with remaining pomegranate seeds, chopped peppers, chopped tomatoes, and parsley leaves. Enjoy with warm pita bread!
- Category: Recipes
- Calories: 279.45 kcal
- Sugar: 26.23 g
- Sodium: 309.4 mg
- Fat: 13.93 g
- Saturated Fat: 1.53 g
- Carbohydrates: 38.54 g
- Fiber: 12.83 g
- Protein: 6.58 g
- Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
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