Eating my words (and my aubergines)

October 19, 2010

In my last post, I was a bit harsh about the humble aubergine. It’s easily done in a country where this shiny purple beast is as ubiquitous as the chip in the UK.

But it took an English food writer to remind me that there are many delicious things to be done with it. Last week’s Observer had Hugh Fearnley-Wittingstall singing the praises of the aubergine, and one of the recipes he vocalised about was baba ganoush.

Not strictly a Turkish dish, it nonetheless has many of this country’s favourite ingredients – aubergine (natch), tahini, lemon, garlic, olive oil, parsley, chilli flakes (or, in my case, pul biber) and cumin seeds.

In fact, when I looked in my cupboards, I had all I needed to make baba ganoush, except the tahini (and the yoghurt, which was optional anyway so I just didn’t bother with it).

The tahini situation was easy enough to rectify with a trip to my local supermarket, which stocked tons of the stuff at about £1 a bottle.

The recipe called for roasting the aubergine until the skin blisters, but I still have no oven, so I simply put them in a dry non-stick frying pan over a good, high heat.

It didn’t take long for the skin to crisp up and the flesh to soften, after which I chopped up the latter (and nibbled on the former), then combined it with the rest of the ingredients. The amount of aubergine I was left with was actually far less than Hugh’s required amount, so the rest of the ingredients were all guesswork.

I think my baba ganoush ended up being a bit heavy on the tahini, but apart from that it was was pretty darn tasty, and was great as a snacky lunch with some crusty spread sprinkled with carraway seeds.

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6 Responses to “Eating my words (and my aubergines)”

  1. Ravenous Ro Says:

    Hmmm bleedin lovely stuff.

    Do you knead and bake your own spread.

  2. Gabby Says:

    I was thinking about baba ganoush the other day and was going to ask you for a recipe! I also saw the Hugh F-W one.
    Speaking of dips, I made tsatsiki the other day, as part of a Greek meal. I had a bottle of retsina for a friend, so made the yogurt dip, found pita bread in our international shop, made calamari, Greek salad and moussaka too! It was all very nice and quite authentic.


  3. Wow, your Greek meal sounds delicious! Doesn’t seem like you have too many problems getting international food in Japan. Not quite so easy to get much other than Turkish or Mediterranean food here in Istanbul. There are two things I’m looking forward to back in London – roast chicken and roast potatoes, and a Chinese feast!


  4. Looks really nice! :)I like your compromise on the oven situation, hopefully you get one soon!


  5. I used to loathe aubergine, having been fed it by a bad cook. I thought it was insipid and slimy…until I grew some and started to cook with them. Now I think they are divine when treated properly. Baba ganoush is something I keep saying I will make but as yet I haven’t…but maybe this weekend I will!


  6. The aubergine is a funny thing – I know a lot of people who don’t like them, especially, it seems, vegetarians. Which is a bit unfortunate, as they’re quite a useful ingredient for veggie dishes.
    But do try the baba ganoush – it’s another dish that looks like it’s going to be complicated but is anything but.
    I’ve got friends arriving from the UK tomorrow, so am planning to make another big batch for us to munch on with our evening drinks.


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