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.
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.