What’s your all-time favorite food? Like if you had to eat ONE kind of food the rest of your life, what would it be? Italian? Mexican? Thai?
I guess it’s not really fair to ask that question since I couldn’t answer back. Maybe you’re like me—the culinary world offers too many fabulous options that if I had to choose just one for the rest of my life, then life’s not worth living.
(I hope you know I’m kidding. Although let’s face it. Sometimes we take our food that seriously.)
Mediterranean fair is definitely on the top of my favorites list, and I have to credit my oldest sister for that. Jessica and her husband, Ala, moved to Saudi Arabia a few years back to temorarily help out Ala’s father with the family business.
By the way, although they lived in Saudi, Ala and his family are Syrian. I have to make that distinction because on my side of the world, not many people understand the difference.
Assuming Syria and Saudi are the same thing is like saying America and Canada are the same thing.
Uh, no. Not quite. God love the Canadians, but I am not one.
Anyway, as you can imagine, Jessica came back to the states with some interesting stories. Being an American female in Saudi didn’t always work in her favor.
She also came back with some mouth-watering recipes that introduced me to a culinary world—and a beautiful culture—that I had never experienced. I know your time in Saudi was at times challenging, Jess, but I am forever grateful. *bow*
And without further ado, the recipe:
Authentic Baba Ghanoush Recipe
Serves 6-8 people as an appetizer with pita bread
2 large eggplants
1/2 c tahini
handful of chopped flat-leaf parsley
pinch of cumin
pinch of salt
Step 1: Using a fork, poke holes sporadically around the eggplants. Roast eggplants at 375 degrees for 50-60 minutes on a foil-lined baking sheet (easy clean-up).
The eggplants are done roasting when they’re extremely soft and look similar to this:
Step 2: Using a fork (and caution because these things will be super hot), scrape out the insides of the eggplant into a mixing bowl and discard the skin. Mash the eggplant until it becomes fairly smooth.
Tip: If you have trouble breaking down the stringy-ness of the eggplant, use an immersion blender (or regular blender, food processor). I used an immersion blender for about 30 seconds, which did the trick. Any longer would have pureed the eggplant too much—yes, the eggplant should be smooth, but you still want texture.
Step 3: Mix in the remaining ingredients. I used the juice of two lemons, but you maybe ok with only one. So start with one and taste test. You should use enough lemon juice to cut through the creaminess of the tahini.
Oh, and if you’re wondering what the heck tahini looks like, here you go (I bought mine in the bulk section, hence the plastic container. But you can buy tahini in a jar as well):
Drizzle with olive oil, and serve with toasted pita bread.
PS. Don’t stir in the olive oil. I took this dish to a get-together, and some friends asked to stir it. You want to taste the baba ghanoush and olive oil as separate flavors.
If you end up using this recipe, please leave a comment and tell me what you think! And if your authentic baba ghanoush recipe has variations, I’d love to hear ’em.