Baba Ghanuouj

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From Geri 8/99

Baba Ghanuouj from Pyrophage

Hi folks,

So I've been trying for the past year to get my baba ghanouj to come out "right" - you know, that wonderfully smoky flavor that the very best Middle Eastern places manage to elicit from their eggplants. Somehow, mine never came out smoky enough.

Well, I am flush with victory this morning: a blender-full of wonderfully smoky baba ghanouj sits triumphantly on my kitchen counter as I type. The *skins*, dammit - the smokiness is in the eggplant *skins*! Why doesn't any baba ghanouj recipe I've seen in any cookbook ever include the skins?

Anyway, here's my recipe, skins and all. Keep in mind that my cooking style involves 'stirring in a little of this, tasting it, stirring in a little of that.' I don't do a whole lot of measuring and recipe-following. So, below is my best recollection of what I did with the eggplants this morning; I encourage you to put in more or less of the ingredients as works best for you; or even omit some / add others.

Roasted Red Peppers Stuffed with Smoky Baba Ghanouj


  • 4 medium eggplants
  • 6 tbs tahini (sesame paste)
  • 3 tbs lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus a few sprigs
  • 1 medium tomato
  • 2 tbs dark sesame oil
  • 1-2 tbs soy sauce
  • 4 large red bell peppers
  • Optional: Pita bread

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Take 4 eggplants of medium size. Chop off the hard top 1" of each eggplant, and then cut each eggplant in half. For each half, score the inside flesh - i.e. cut deep incisions 1/2" apart, lengthwise and widthwise. Then turn the half over, and make several deep punctures in the skin of the eggplant. When finished, place the halves with the inner flesh facing upwards on a baking sheet (or two), and bake for 1 hour. I suggest keeping a window open during this time.

After the eggplants have baked for an hour, take them out of the oven, and cut each half into six to eight large chunks. Then put all the chunks in a blender, and blend to as smooth a consistency as possible.

Next add the following ingredients:

  • 6 tablespoons of tahini (sesame paste)
  • 2-3 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup of fresh finely chopped cilantro
  • 2 tbs dark sesame oil

And blend again, 'til you have a paste-like consistency.

At this point, start tasting the baba ghanouj. The tahini gives a smooth texture and creamy taste. The lemon juice naturally makes the mixture tarter and wetter; so they balance each other out. If one seems to be dominating the mixture excessively, add a bit more of the other. The sesame oil adds moisture; you may want more or less of this.

Here are some other ingredients I added and blent in, to achieve balance:

1 tomato (adds moisture and richness, without the calories of the oil; also makes it less smoky)

1-2 tbs soy sauce (adds saltiness) (go slowly with this; it's a strong flavor)

So, taste it as you go and see what it needs. If you follow the amounts I've outlined here, I think you'll end up with something that tastes good.

Next (or simultaneously while mixing): Cut the 4 red bell peppers in half, and place skin-side up under broiler for 10-15 min, until skin is half red, half black. Remove from oven. When cool enough to handle, place the red bell pepper halves skin-side-down on serving plates, and spoon a few tablespoons of baba ghanouj atop each. Garnish each with a sprig of cilantro atop the baba ghanouj, for prettiness.

There will likely be baba ghanouj left over, so get some pita bread to make sandwiches. Or, make sandwiches in the first place, by slicing the red bell peppers up and putting those with the baba ghanouj inside of pita.

Happy happy, Geri