baba ganoush lite
Like most iconic traditional recipes, baba ganoush has many variations. The
characterizing ingredients are roasted eggplant guts and tahini (sesame seed
oil). Apparently tahini is pretty good stuff nutritionally, with mostly
unsaturated fats, but it has high calorie content which is the incentive to use
it with moderation. Along with hummus, baba ganoush is a staple of Middle
Eastern mezze, which are the collections of numerous appetizers that precede a
main course in many full course meals in that region of the world, or which
alone serves as a light meal. dr bob likes to use both as a sauce for many
different dishes that invariably raise eye brows at the in-laws, who like to
keep their tastes separate. In contrast bob is a notorious food blender.
dr bob's sister-in-law nora's aunt araxi for some reason during her second
pregnancy had a restricted diet that led her to consider this alternative to the
most usual combination of ingredients, reducing the tahini and salt and tossing
labneh into the mix. labneh is somewhat dehydrated yogurt, easy to find these days
in the supermarket without having to strain yogurt yourself to achieve this more
If you are going to go to the trouble of roasting and gutting an eggplant,
you might as well do two (economy of scale), so we give the recipe for two large
eggplants. We compare the lite version with the Lebanese recipe that we had been
following until this in-law intervention. Apparently the Turks also use yogurt
in their baba. At least the Turks we know... The Italians also have a
but with the accent on the last syllable and in a whole different food group:
pastry. The French apparently invented this brioche, saturated with rum usually,
but apparently also with limoncello in Italy (Campania), where the babà
is a Neopolitan speciality that had been imported to Naples (Napoli!) by French
|| more traditonal lebanese baba
|2 large eggplants
||1 large eggplant
||approx 1/4 c lemon juice
|1 T tahini (not exact)
||4-5 T tahini
|3 super heaping T (6oz, 3/4 c?) labneh (see notes)
|1 clove garlic, pressed
||2 cloves garlic
|salt to taste (less than 1 t)
||1 1/2 t salt
|parsley sprig for decoration
||1/4 c finely chopped parsley garnish
|olive oil drizzle and Middle Eastern red pepper
for that extra serving kick
- Wash the eggplants and cut in half lengthwise, then place open face down
on a Spammed (veggie sprayed) nonstick cookie sheet pan (with sides to catch
- Bake 30 minutes in a preheated oven at 450°
- If there is time, let it cool a bit before
working on it with your bare hands. If not try to avoid burning yourself.
- Remove and peel away the eggplant guts (is
there a better word for this?) from the skin. Remove the long pods of seeds
from the layers of eggplant meat. This is the tedious part. Allow maybe 15
minutes for one person, less for two depending on the talent for this task.
- Then place in a strainer to drain, pressing
lightly to push out the excess liquid.
- Dump into a bowl or glass serving dish (see
illustration) and stir in the tahini briefly with a fork until mixed in
- Do the same for the labneh, garlic and
minimal salt to taste. If you like a smoother product, just food process
this a few pulses instead of doing the fork thing. When we did this
ourselves, instead of looking at our guests, ani found the stringiness left
by the forking unacceptable, so she pulsed it a bit while adding the salt
and the last bit of yogurt to taste.
- Transfer to a serving dish or dishes if you
did not directly mix the extra ingredients already in a single serving dish
like we did.
- To serve, drizzle extra virgin olive oil
over the surface and sprinkle lightly with Middle Eastern red pepper.
- A finishing touch of a spring of fresh
parsley in the middle gives the dish a touch of elegance.
- If you were crazy enough to pull the
eggplant apart with your bare hands while hot, you have our permission to serve the
finished product still warm. Remember this is Middle Eastern comfort food.
Whole wheat pita or lavash or other whole grain flat bread products are a
nice accompaniment, but you can also use your baba as a sauce for ground
meat shish kebab or grilled zucchini (our favorite). Use your imagination.
Bob always gets looks from the in-laws for mixing stuff together while
- Wiki : Baba ganoush.
- The first time we made this, we were out of
labneh and used thick fat
free Greek yogurt instead. The second time we made this our local supplier
of labneh, Whole Foods, was out of stock, so we again used Greek yogurt
- Nora, sister-in-law once removed: Ani's
brother's wife. Ani's sister is also named Nora, which results in occasional
confusion requiring conversational clarification for clueless bob: "which
- We nearly finished off the entire batch among 5 adults, but there was
enough left over the next day for spreading on a lavash square with some red
pepper hummus and some left over grilled zucchini. A simple yet delicious
wrap for two.
- With the increasing number of food bloggers out there on the internet,
it is easy to find cute remarks about eggplant:
From Eggplant to Baba Ganoush With Love,
Tigers & Strawberries » Aubergine Rhapsody.
- Illustrations available.