Baba ghanoush

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Baba ghanoush
Baba ganoush closeup.jpg
Course Appetizer
Place of origin Middle East
Main ingredients Eggplant, olive oil
Cookbook: Baba ghanoush  Media: Baba ghanoush

Baba ghanoush (Arabic بابا غنوج bābā ghannūj, also appears as baba ganush, baba ghanouj or baba ghanoug[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] It is a typical meze (starter), often 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) as well as in Armenia.[1]

Baba ganoush and pita.jpg
Mutabbal and pita bread
Course Appetizer
Place of origin Middle East
Main ingredients Eggplant, olive oil
Cookbook: Mutabbal  Media: Mutabbal

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


In Jordan, Syria and Lebanon, baba ghanoush 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]

Varieties of this dish are commonly known as patlıcan salatası ("eggplant salad") in Turkey. It is typically made with mashed eggplants, while varieties with cut eggplants can be found in southern Turkey, especially in Antakya. In regions with large Arab population it can also be known as abu-gannoush, as the name Baba means father in Arabic and Turkish,and abu is another Arabic word for father.

In Israel, the traditional version called salat ḥatzilim is made with grilled and mashed eggplants, tahina, olive oil, lemon, garlic and parsley. A variation made with mayonnaise instead of tahini, called salat ḥatzilim b'mayonnaise, is also widely available.[5] Israelis traditionally use "wild" eggplants known as baladi (from Arabic "of the earth, indigenous").

The essential ingredients in Armenian mutabal are the same: eggplant, tahini, garlic, lemon, and onion; and most Armenians also add cumin.

See also[edit]


  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) ISBN 0-06-009361-7, p.41.
General sources