Baba ghanouj


For a year or more, Bennie has been getting cranky about the tiresome state of his school lunches and more particularly the regular inclusion of rolls of various kinds stuffed with all sorts.

Can’t say I blame him – I find them tiresome, too.

So for the best part of this year, I’ve been including dips and pita bread.

I fell out of the habit of making dips a long time ago, so we’ve been shamelessly buying them. That’s down to laziness mostly, but also we’re blenderless.

Our bought dips – hummus and baba ghanouj mainly – have ranged from good to barely passable to really nasty.

Interestingly, the quality of the dip seems to have had little to do with how much or how little we pay for them.

But this pre-bought dip routine is stopping – right here, right now.

It’s ridiculous.

Besides, you don’t need a blender – in fact, in the case of baba ghanouj, you really want that chunky, unblended texture.

And getting back in to the routine of dip-making fits right in with our current fascination with Middle Eastern food.

This recipe – with a few minor tweaks – is straight from the pages of Nawal Nasrallah’s fabulous Iraqi cookbook, Delights From The Garden Of Eden.

It’s easy and hassle-free!


1 large eggplant

1/4 cup tahini

1/4 cup yogurt

1/4 cup lemon juice

2 medium garlic cloves

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin


1. Pre-heat oven to a hot 225C.

2. Pre-heat skillet under low heat.

3. Puncture eggplant all over several times, so steam can escape and it doesn’t explode.

4. Place eggplant on a foil-lined oven tray and put in hot oven for about 45 minutes.

5. Gently roast cumin seeds in skillet until a deep tan, then grind to a fine powder in mortar and pestle.

6. When eggplant is done – it’ll be all wrinkly – turn off oven and let eggplant cool.

7. When cool enough to handle, discard skin and place pulp in a colander so it can drain.

8. Place eggplant pulp in a bowl and mash with a  fork.

9. Mix in tahini and yogurt.

10. Mix in salt and ground cumin.

11. Mix in lemon juice.

12. Finely grate garlic cloves and mix into baba ghanouj.

13. Store in fridge for at least an hour before using.

14 thoughts on “Baba ghanouj

  1. yum. Thanks. I similarly swore off bought dips a while back – my mainstays are hummous: a tin of chick peas,olive oil, garlic, lemon juice and tahini, zoomed together with the bamix, in less than 5 minutes; guacamole made from avocado, garlic, lemon juice, lots of black pepper and whatever extra bits and pieces I feel like – think spring onion, tomato, parsley, capsicum, and cacik/ tzatziki: yoghurt, cucumber and garlic, equally quick and easy.

    This baba ghanouj takes a bit more thinking ahead, but yes, would definitely be worth it I can tell already 🙂


    • Hi Janet! We had it tonight with lemon/garlic chook and tabouli – if anything the cumin was a little too strong.

      Another easy one is just whizzing or mashing up roast red capsicum with a like amount of yogurt, and then some olive oil, lemon juice, a little salt.


  2. Hi Kenny thanks for the recipe. I made it Tuesday night and had some for dinner last night – very tasty!! However I have to admit that I’m not really a tahini fan – do you think it would work if I omitted the tahini next time?


      • Thanks Kenny. Just to clarify – does that mean I should substitute yoghurt for the tahini to the amount of half a cup (to make up the original amounts, which were 1/4 cup yoghurt, 1/4 cup tahini and 1/4 cup lemon juice)? Sorry to be a pain but just want to check : )


      • Hi Keri! Still playing around with it myself!

        Here’s Nawal’s exact words; “For a lighter touch replace tahini with yogurt or our cream. You may also use half the amount of tahini, and replace the other half with yogurt or sour cream. To give depth to taste, add 1 teaspoon balsamic or red wine vinegar.”

        Nawal is now a Consider The Sauce poster!


  3. Good one Kenny. Now how about a recipe for the chilli and onion dip (acili ezme?) from Footscray’s Best Kebab House? Benny must love that one 😉


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