Sunday, October 19, 2008


Spring is a great time for dips and salads, so today in celebration of the warm weather we had a salad. Roquette, cos lettuce, cherry tomatoes, red capsicum and tuna with lashings of babaganoush on top.
The best thing about cooking babaganoush is you get to be a bit primitive, charring the eggplant on the open flame. I remember my surprise at the smoky flavour of this dip on my first encounter and I'm not sure that I immediately loved it. But I char with gay abandon these days filling the kitchen with an aroma reminiscent of marijuahna burning (so I am told). 
The smoky richness of babaganoush goes well with salads, barbecued meat and fish, especially lamb or just plain old carrot sticks, pita bread or water crackers. 

1 medium to large eggplant (aubergine)
1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
1 teaspoon of coriander seeds
1 clove of garlic
75 grams tahini
75 grams olive oil
50 ml water
Half teaspoon salt
Juice of 1 large lemon

The smoky flavour of babaganoush is developed by placing a whole uncooked eggplant directly onto the gas flame of your stove top. Turn the flame on full and let the eggplant cook until it is charred on the underside then turning it over with a pair of kitchen tongs repeat the process on the other side. You will find the peeling process, which comes next, easier if the eggplant is well charred, so don't pull it off the stove too quickly.
Once this is done, put the charred eggplant aside in a bowl to cool 
Dry roast your cumin and coriander in a heavy based pan until they darken slightly and release their aroma. 
Place the seeds in the Thermomix bowl and grind on speed 10 for 60 seconds
Add the garlic and chop on speed 7 for 5 seconds or until evenly chopped
Now that the eggplant is cooled slightly, peel the charred skin away. Make sure that you leave as much of the browned layer beneath the charring as possible, this is where the flavour is. 
When you have removed all of the skin, cut off the stem and place the eggplant in the Thermomix bowl. 
Add the other ingredients ie tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, water
Blend on speed 5 for 30seconds.
Turn out into a bowl and sprinkle with soumak more for the decoration than for flavour
Eat whilst still warm (which I think is the only way to go) or at room temperature.