I used to hate eggplant as a kid. I still remember the cafeteria at the nun school where we ate every day; when I’d see that large fried eggplant facing me, I’d quickly slip it in the pocket of my uniform. I just could not stomach it.
Somehow, life changes you and your tastes evolve and you eat better food than cafeteria food for first graders. Now I think eggplant is wonderful and I love love love the smokey flavor of this batenjan mtabbal.
Key is, it’s got to be smoked, charred all over. If you have a gas stove, great! The job can be done easily over one burner (protect your burner with aluminum foil first). If not, then time to start the grill (maybe cook some kafta or tawook at the same time)
In Beirut, one sees sometimes a portable grill (called man’kal) on the sidewalk loaded with eggplants getting roasted in the open air for the restaurant or butcher shop or deli a couple feet behind.
Eggplant caviarJoumana Accad Mediterranean, Middle Eastern March 6, 2015 Mezze/Appetizers, Vegan, vegan, dip, baba ghannouj, lebanesefood, eggplant,
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
1 large eggplant (about 1 3/4lbs)
1/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 to 2 tsp garlic paste (2 garlic cloves mashed with a tsp of salt)
1 tsp pomegranate molasses (optional)
- Char the eggplant over a flame (use the bbq grill or the stovetop grill) until blackened all over and softer. Make sure to prick it first (see video) or it will burst. Transfer the eggplant to a colander set over a bowl to cool a bit and drain its brown juice.
- Once cool, peel and mash the eggplant. Drain for 30 minutes.
- Transfer to a bowl and add the rest of the ingredients and taste to adjust the seasoning. Serve in a bowl with a drizzle of olive oil and, if desired, a few pomegranate arils to garnish. Serve with Arabic bread (pita) or croutons.
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