May 032013
 
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Moutabel

 

 

The names ‘Moutabel’ and ‘Baba Ganoush‘ are often used interchangeably for this well-known Middle Eastern eggplant/aubergine dish. However, they are not the same thing. While most of the ingredients and cooking methods are identical for both dishes, it is what you do in the last few steps of the recipe which determines whether you end up with Moutabel or whether you get Baba Ganoush.

 

 

Moutabel is blended with tahini (sesame paste) to get an earthy eggplant dip with a creamy texture. Baba Ganoush, on the other hand, skips the tahini and incorporates tomatoes, walnuts, parsley and pomegranate syrup for a tangier eggplant dip. Both are delicious served with flatbread or veggie sticks!

 

 

 

MOUTABEL

(Serves 4-6 as a dip)

 

 

Ingredients: (makes 2 cups)

2 lb / 900g eggplant (aubergine) – this is usually 2 medium-sized eggplants

2 garlic cloves, peeled and grated/finely chopped

2-3 Tbsp lemon juice – this is usually 1 – 1 1/2 juicy lemons

1 tsp salt

1 tsp ground cumin powder

2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (plus extra for roasting the eggplant)

1 Tbsp parsley

2-4 Tbsp tahini (depending on your taste)

 

 

Directions:

  1. To achieve the authentic smokey flavor, you need to cook the eggplant on an open flame. If you have a gas stove or barbecue, place the entire eggplant directly on the open flame and cook it until the inside is soft.
  2. Alternatively, you can roast the eggplant in a preheated oven at 400F/200C (although it won’t have the chargrilled flavor, it will still be very good). To do this, pour 2 Tbsp olive oil into an oven proof-dish. Take your eggplants (aubergines) and poke holes in the skin all around the surface. Place the eggplants in the oven-proof dish and rub the olive oil all over the skin. Place in the oven for 40-60 minutes (turning once halfway through). The eggplant is ready when you press down on it and it is very soft.
  3. Remove the eggplants from the heat and slice them in half to allow them to cool quickly. Let them sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes. The skin will peel off easily, either using your fingers or a fork and knife.
  4. Take the peeled eggplant and chop it very roughly. Place it in a colander (in the sink or over a bowl). Place a small plate on top of the eggplant in the colander to weight it down. Press down the plate and leave it for about 30 minutes to let the liquid come out. After 30 minutes, press the plate down again to squeeze the last of the liquid out.
  5. If you want to use a food processor, put the eggplant, 2 garlic cloves, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp cumin powder, 2-3 Tbsp lemon juice, 2 Tbsp olive oil, 1 Tbsp parsley, and 2-4 Tbsp tahini into the food processor and blend to desired consistency. Remember, most of the ingredients can easily be added after processing, so it is better to start with the smaller suggested quantities of the seasonings and add more after tasting.
  6. If you want to make the Moutabel by hand, remove the eggplant from the colander and place it on a chopping board. Chop it up finely (I recommend using a large cook’s knife if you have one). Stop when you are happy with the texture.
  7. In a bowl, combine the eggplant with 2 grated/finely shopped garlic cloves, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp cumin powder, 2-3 Tbsp lemon juice, 2 Tbsp olive oil, 1 Tbsp parsley, and 2-4 Tbsp tahini. I recommend starting with the smaller suggested quantities of the seasonings and adding more after tasting.
  8. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  9. Serve with flatbread or veggie sticks.

 

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