Baba ghanoush is a traditional Middle Eastern eggplant dip made with a handful of green vegetables and pomegranates, and served cold or at room temperature.
Many similar dishes across the region are based on the iconic dip, such as mutabbal and raheb.
The cold appetizer is a popular iftar accompaniment among Arabs during Ramadan.
The name baba ghanoush is derived from two Arabic words. Baba translates to “father” and ghanoush means “pampered.”
There are several stories about the origins of the dish. The most popular dates back to a city in the Levant in the first century, when a Christian priest was nicknamed baba ghanoush by his students. One wanted to give him a meal as an appreciation gesture, and the dip was made from grilled eggplant mixture mixed with vegetables.
Baba ghanoush is suitable for vegans and people following ketogenic and gluten-free diets. Levantine, Turkish, Arab, and Shami restaurants usually serve the dish as an appetizer alongside mixed grills and bread.
To make baba ghanoush, you need one eggplant, a diced red bell pepper, a quarter cup of pomegranate seeds, a minced garlic clove, lemon juice, two tablespoons of chopped parsley, one tablespoon of chopped mint, two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and one tablespoon of pomegranate molasses, salt and pepper.
First, roast the eggplants in a preheated oven at 240 degrees Celsius for at least 30 minutes. Make sure to pierce the skins a few times with the point of a knife.
Allow the eggplant to cool then peel the black skin off the cooked fruit and chop it with a knife until it forms a smooth paste.
Move the paste into a mixing bowl to add the rest of the ingredients, including lemon juice, minced garlic, salt, pepper, and chopped herbs. Mix well, then add the bell pepper, half the olive oil and pomegranate.
Serve the Baba ghanoush in a bowl and garnish it with pomegranate seeds and molasses with a drizzle of olive oil. Serve it next to your main dish or enjoy it as a light sahoor snack.