Smoky eggplant dip

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I’ve been reading all about David Lebovitz’s trip to Israel and all I want to do now is go to Israel and stuff my belly…have I not mentioned that all my travels are dictated by my stomach? Yeseree…The photos of those fresh vibrant salads, fall-off-the bone slow-roasted meats, creamy dips drizzled with olive oil…oh my…hang on a sec, I just need to wipe the drool off my keyboard.

However I have a feeling that given that we’ve just come back from our year-long travelling extravaganza, I’m fairly sure that our next overseas trip won’t be for a while, bum! So this weekend I brought Israel into my kitchen and made this smoky eggplant dip.

To be honest I think calling it just a dip is not doing this dish justice.  You could totally use this as an accompaniment to grilled or roasted meats and fish, serve with vegetables or just with some flatbread.

The amounts that I’ve used below are according to my taste so please feel free to adjust things to suit your preferences, whether you like it more or less acidic, less garlicky just make those adjustments.  How I came to the below recipe was just by adding little by little until it met the balance of acidity, sweet and smokiness that I really like.

p.s. how good is smoky!

Smoky eggplant dip

What you need:

  • 2 small to medium sized eggplants
  • 1 garlic clove (not too large), crushed
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 1/4 tsp finely grated lemon zest
  • 4 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp pomegranate molasses
  • 2 tbsp parsley

What to do:

Cover the area surrounding two medium sized hobs with foil as this will make for easier cleaning up.  On a medium flame place the eggplants directly on the flame and rotating regularly with tongs cook the eggplants until the skin is charred and the flesh inside is soft. This will impart an awesome smoky fragrance in the kitchen, yum!!

When you are able to touch the eggplant, scoop out the flesh into a sieve.  This is the bit that takes the most time as you want to avoid the charred skin.  Don’t worry if you get a few specks in there, it will just add to the smokiness but you don’t want too much.

Let the eggplant sit in the colander for around 20-30 mins as you will need to drain some of the liquid from the eggplant.

Chop the eggplant.  You want to chop it finely but retain some chunkiness to it.  Put it into a  bowl and mix it with the crushed garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, pomegranate molasses, olive oil and mix till well combined.  Season with salt and pepper.  Stir through the parsley.

Serve in a bowl or plate and drizzle with olive oil and pomegranate molasses.

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  • Mark

    This is called baba Ghanoush in Lebanese cusine. Haven’t tried it with pomegranate on top though, may experiment with that.

    • http://www.merci-mama.com/ Jules

      I love baba ganoush, but I wasn’t sure if this was exactly baba ganoush so didn’t call it by that name – didn’t want to offend anyone! The pomegranate molasses is lovely on top, a touch of sweetness and tartness.

  • Erin

    Is there anything simple I can substitute for pomegranate molasses? It might be hard to find that where i live. this looks lovely!

    • http://www.merci-mama.com/ Jules

      Hi Erin,
      You could quite easily make your own pomegranate molasses by boiling down some pomegranate juice if you can find that. I found a recipe that says to reduce 4 cups of pomegranate juice with 1/2 cup sugar and 1tbsp lemon juice until it makes 1 cup. Otherwise you could just omit the pomegranate molasses completely. It will still be really delicious.