This is one of my favourite dips and has a delicious smoked and lemony flavour. Quite often the store bought variety isn’t cooked in the traditional manner over open flames and hence lacks the amazing smoky flavour. Some recipes say to just roast the eggplants in the oven but you really can’t get the true flavour of baba ghanoush this way. The best way to cook the eggplants is by throwing them on an open fire with some nice built up coals. If you don’t have access to an open fire I am including a gas-fired stove method. You can’t make this on an electric stove.
Ingredients (yield about 3-4 cups)
5 medium eggplants
4 tsp salt
4 tbsp tahini
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup water
2 cloves garlic finely chopped
Put lengthwise slits in eggplants about 2 cm apart Roast eggplants on open wood-fire coals. A little smoke is good and a little flame also. Rotate eggplants to make sure they cooks evenly. Cook until they are soft inside and the outside skin is charred and crackling.
Gas stove alternative to open wood-fire: Put cake racks over burners. Use a few burners to speed up the process. Cook 1 eggplant over each burner, rotating until they are soft inside and the outside skin is charred and crackling).
Let eggplants cool to touch. Remove stalks and peel as much skin as possible off eggplants. Add to food processor along with all other ingredients. Blend until a smooth hummous like consistency. You may need to add a bit more water to get the desired consistency. It will solidify a lot once it is refrigerated so make it a bit runnier than you think necessary.
Taste and balance flavours with salt, lemon and tahini. It should be very lemony and smoky with a subtle and rounded tahini flavour. Chill in a refrigerator for a couple hours. Serve in a bowl garnished with olive oil and paprika.