I love people. I love food. I love cooking. I love entertaining. And not necessarily in that order!
Its been quite a while I had friends over for dinner. I have always preferred casual get togethers over formal dinners. I love casual, laid back setting where my friends can just chill and enjoy good food and drinks and have great conversations. Food is usually laid on the coffee table and the side tables and drinks are aplenty and all you hear are loud, unadulterated laughter. That's what I call 'Entertaining'.
We had one such get together last month. And it was a mixed crowd with both vegetarian and non vegetarian friends. In situations like this I mainly do vegetarian stuff with just one or two non-veg items.
This time for the customary chips n dips, I decided to let go of guacamole and red pepper hummus. I have over done them. Instead I went with the smoky and garlicky Baba Ganoush. Eggplants are a strict no-no in our house unless of course you are talking of Begun Pora (Fire Roasted Eggplant Mash).
Now, Baba Ganoush is nothing but a Middle Eastern counterpart of our very own Begun Pora. The smokiness of the charred eggplants are the highlights of both the dishes. The recipe of Baba Ganoush and Hummus are also pretty similar. You use charred eggplant instead of boiled chickpea. The rest remains the same. Since my family and friends digs on my homemade hummus, I thought they would like the Baba Ganoush too. And I am glad they did.
Usually, raw garlic is finely minced and added to the mash. But one of my friend is not a big garlic fan and raw garlic might be tad too much for her to handle. So I decided to roast the garlic along with the eggplant. The roasted garlic added to the smokiness and also imparted a little sweetness to the dip and was delicious. In future, I will always roast my garlic for all my dips. Adding a pinch of cumin also alleviate the smokiness of the dip. But be careful. Cumin is an overpowering spice and we literally need a pinch. Anything more will ruin the authentic taste of the dip.
Baba Ganoush is traditionally served as an appetizer or a side dish. Pita chips are its best a accompaniment. Fresh vegetable strips and crackers are also great options. For my party I served it with baby carrots sticks and crackers.
|Recipe Snapshot: Baba Ganoush |
Serves: 8 -10 serving
(1 serving = 2 tbsp)
What I used:
Eggplant - 2, medium sized, firm
Garlic - 1, medium sized head
Lemon Juice - juice of half a lemon (2-3 tbsp) or more to taste
Tahini (Sesame seed paste) - 4 tbsp
Cumin Powder - 1/8 tsp (optional)
Red Chili Powder - 1/2 tsp
Flat leaf Parsley - 1 cup packed, leaves only plus more for garnishing.
Salt (coarse sea salt is preferred)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil for drizzling
Sesame Seed for garnish (optional)
What I did:
1. Place the oven rack in the middle position and turn on the 'Broil' Mode.
2. Wash and pat dry the eggplant. Make a long horizontal and vertical slits, keeping the stem intact.
3. Peel away the outer layers of the garlic bulb skin, leaving the skins of the individual cloves intact. Cut off a little portion from the top of cloves, exposing the individual cloves of garlic.
4. Rub the eggplants and the cut garlic head with little olive oil. Place the eggplants it on a foil wrapped cookie sheet. Place the garlic cut side down.
5. Broil for for 10-12 minutes, rotating it around till the skin is completely charred and the flesh is soft.
6. The garlic will char quickly. Using a pair of tongs, take it out of the oven after 5-6 minutes or until its skin has dark brown spots.
7. Once cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh from the eggplant into a food processor bowl.
8. Squeeze the roasted garlic cloves out of their skins and put it in the food processor bowl too.
9. Add the tahini, lemon juice, salt, red chili powder, cumin powder (if using) and the flat leaves parley and pulse until smooth.
10. Transfer to the serving bowl and check and adjust the seasoning. Refrigerate for at least an hour or two before serving. It can be refrigerated up to five days before serving.
11. Just before serving, add a handful of chopped fresh parsley, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, a pinch of red chili powder and a light sprinkle of sesame seeds.
12. Serve with fresh veggies, crackers or toasted pita chips.
Notes/Tip: Babab Ganoush tastes awesome on the day its made but its even better the next day. I always make it a day or two in advance for the flavors to blend well.
One cup of Baba Ganoush has approximately 363 calories. But you'll be eating just a couple of teaspoons. Its a good sources of dietary fiber and protein. Its also high in fat content, with 30 grams of fat in Baba Ganoush. However, it contains no cholesterol, and 80 percent of the total fat consists of healthy unsaturated fats, including omega-3 fatty acids from olive oil and sesame seeds. Unsaturated fats contribute to heart health by lowering levels of cholesterol and inflammation.