If you’ve always been confused over the difference between Baba Ganoush and Moutabel, both of which seem to look, and taste, similar, here’s a clear explanation: Mutabel and Baba Ganoush, are both made using roasted eggplants but the other ingredients added to it, as well as the garnish, varies.
Both recipes begin with roasting eggplants, either on a direct flame or on an oven grill until the skin is completely charred. The skin is then peeled off, while the pulpy flesh with its smoky flavour forms the base of the dish.
If you add tahini, yogurt, mashed garlic, lemon juice, and salt, you get Mutabel. For Baba Ganoush, add chopped tomatoes, onion, mint, lots of extra virgin olive oil, and garnish with chopped parsley. Pomegranate seeds are also used as a garnish for both dishes.
Baba Ganoush is a purely vegan, gluten-free, and keto-friendly dish that is also low in carbs. It has an earthy, smoky, silky and slightly tangy flavour. Moutabel is a richer, creamier dip, with a texture somewhere in between a hummus and a Baba Ganoush. While most people equally relish both these dips, only some can distinguish between the two as the choice of ingredients for both varies according to individual tastes.
When choosing eggplant, make sure to pick up large, rounded, and firm ones that feel quite heavy and have a dark purple, shiny skin. If you are lucky to get one from a ‘wrinkled’ variety (much broader than longer in shape), that is said to guarantee the best eggplant dip in the world. This comes from some parts of the Levant (comprising Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Palestine and Jordan) where this wild variety is known as ‘baladi’ which means ‘from the countryside’ in Arabic.
1 large eggplant
¼ cup tahini
3-4tbsp lemon juice
2 garlic cloves – minced
¼ teaspoon salt
Olive oil, chopped parsley, for garnish
Place the eggplant on a grill on a direct flame and keep turning it to evenly roast on all sides, or wrap with aluminum foil and roast for 45-60 minutes in a preheated oven at 220º C. When the skin is evenly charred, set aside to cool, then peel the skin and mash the flesh with a fork to get a smooth consistency. You may also pulse the flesh for a few seconds to get a smoother paste. Add lemon juice, tahini, garlic, and salt and blend for a minute till the mixture is smooth and creamy. Garnish with parsley and olive oil.
2 medium sized eggplants
4tbsp Greek yoghurt
Juice of 1 lemon
2 garlic cloves – crushed
1tbsp pomegranate seeds
Place the eggplants over a direct flame for 20 minutes and keep turning until the skin is charred on all sides and the flesh becomes soft. A smoky flavour and a liquid leaking on all sides of the egg plant will confirm that it is well done. Cool and peel the skins and place the flesh in a large bowl. Add the garlic, tahini, yoghurt, lemon juice, and salt and combine well with a fork until the mixture is smooth. You may use a blender to get a smoother consistency, if desired. Add to serving bowls and garnish with olive oil, chopped parsley, and pomegranate seeds. Serve warm or cold with pitta breads.
You may make your dip look interesting by garnishing it with toasted sesame seeds, red chilli flakes, julienned ginger or bits of roasted, coloured capsicum. Swirl your dip to form a neat whirlpool in a deep plate or serve them out in individual shallow serving bowl.
1 cup (150g) sesame seeds – hulled
2-4tbsp canola or light olive oil
A pinch of salt (optional)
Add sesame seeds to a wide, dry saucepan over medium-low heat and toast, stirring constantly until the seeds become fragrant and very lightly coloured (not brown). Transfer toasted seeds to a baking sheet or plate to cool. When completely cooled, add sesame seeds to the bowl of a food processor and process until a crumbly paste forms, about 1 minute. Now, add 3tbsp of oil and process for 2-3 minutes. Check the consistency, it should be smooth, not gritty and pourable. Add 1tbsp more oil, if needed, and process for one more minute. Add salt and process for 5 to 10 seconds. Tahini is ready.
To store, keep it in an airtight jar in the refrigerator for one month. Over time, it separates like a natural peanut butter would. If this happens, stir well before use.