Baba ghanoush

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Mutabbal
Baba Ghanoush.jpg
Course Appetizer
Place of origin Egypt
Main ingredients Eggplant, olive oil
Cookbook:Mutabbal  Mutabbal

Baba ghanoush (Arabic بابا غنوج bābā ghannūj, also appears as baba ganush, baba ghannouj or baba ghannoug[1]) is a Levantine dish of cooked eggplant mixed with onions, tomatoes, olive oil and various seasonings. The Arabic term means "pampered papa" or "coy daddy", perhaps with reference to a member of a royal harem. [2]

The Arabic preparation method is for the eggplant to be baked or broiled over an open flame before peeling, so that the pulp is soft and has a smoky taste.[3] Often, it is eaten as a dip with khubz or pita bread, and is sometimes added to other dishes. It is popular in the Levant (area covering Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine and Syria).[1]

A similar dish, but with mashed eggplants and without other vegetables, is known as mutabbal (متبل literally 'spiced') in the Levant but is called baba ghanoush in Egypt.

Varieties[edit]

Mutabbal and pita bread

In Syria and Lebanon, baba ghanoush is a starter or appetizer. It is made of eggplant blended with finely diced onions, tomatoes, and other vegetables. The Egyptian version, known in the Levant as mutabbal, is made of roasted, peeled, and mashed eggplant, blended with tahini, garlic, salt, and lemon juice. Cumin and chili powder can be added. It is normally served with a dressing of olive oil and pomegranate concentrate. In the traditional method, the eggplant is first roasted in an oven for approximately 30 to 90 minutes (depending on the size of the eggplant) until the skin appears almost burnt and the eggplant begins to collapse. The softened flesh is scooped out, squeezed or salted to remove excess water, and is then pureed with the tahini. There are many variants of the recipe, especially the seasoning. Seasonings include garlic, lemon juice, ground cumin, salt, mint, and parsley. When served on a plate or bowl, it is traditional to drizzle the top with olive oil.[4]

It is eaten in Turkey, where a similar meze is called patlıcan salatası (meaning "eggplant salad"). In Turkey, patlıcan salatası is made with mashed eggplants while baba ghanoush is cut not mashed. The baba ghanoush can be found (with cut eggplants) in southern Turkey, especially in Antakya. Also as the name Baba means father in Arabic and Turkish, in the regions where Arab population is large, the other word used in Arabic for father, Abu, is sometimes used and therefore it can be known as Abu-Gannoush. And, in Greece, it is called melitzanosalata (μελιτζανοσαλάτα; "eggplant salad"). In Israel, both the traditional version made with tahina and a variation made with mayonnaise is widely available.[5]

Palestinians traditionally use "wild" eggplants known as "baladi" (from Arabic 'of the earth, indigenous'). It is made with tahini, olive oil, lemon and parsley.

Another variant called 'Badenjaan Borani' is served in Afghanistan and Pakistan. This recipe uses yoghurt and onions.

It is somewhat popular in areas heavily influenced by the Middle Eastern diaspora, as in Southeastern Brazil (see Arab Brazilian), and its presence has made eggplant more popular in almost all countries, although it was first introduced by either Iberians or West African slaves.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Footnotes
  1. ^ a b Egyptian Cuisine and Recipes
  2. ^ Oxford English Dictionary
  3. ^ Khayat, Marie Karam; Keatinge, Margaret Clark. Food from the Arab World, Khayats, Beirut, Lebanon.
  4. ^ The Cooking of the Middle-East, Foods of the World, Time-Life Books, 1969.
  5. ^ Levy, F. Feast from the Mideast, Harper Collins, 2003, p.41. ISBN 0-06-009361-7
General sources