Eggplant dip (M’tabbal)
December 2, 2011 • Category: Mezze/Appetizers
Will not speak for other expats, but this is the one dish that beckons after arrival. Something about that lemony, silky, garlicky, smokey eggplant cream is all that one needs to feel acclimated once again.
- 1 large shiny eggplant, about 1 pound
- 1 lemon
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 tbsp of tahini
- olive oil
- Char the eggplant over an open flame, either on a gas stove or on a BBQ grill; once the skin is blackened all over, dip into a bowl of cold water to cool it and peel it; place the eggplant on a colander and let it drain.
- Mash it with a meat mallet and add the juice of a lemon, a teaspoon of garlic (mashed in a mortar with a dash of salt) and just a touch of tahini (You don’t want the taste of tahini to be noticeable).
- Taste, drizzle with a filet of olive oil and serve with pita.
NOTE: m’tabbal is a word meaning seasoned or spiced.
37 Comments • Comments Feed
Glad you touched down safely in Beirut…I would go straight for old standby’s in Greece too! I love our Melitzanosalata…all smoky from charring the eggplants.
On December 2, 2011 at 4:52 am
Good to know that you had a good flight and that you have landed safely in Beirut. A delicious dip!
On December 2, 2011 at 4:56 am
même si je ne suis pas libanaise, j’adooore les aubergines ainsi préparés!! Bon séjour au Liban.
On December 2, 2011 at 4:58 am
Tom @ Tall Clover says:
Joumana, At first I thought you were in San Francisco, (Oakland Bay Bridge in the background), but no, the sunlit shot is a bit more exotic indeed. Your recipe is spot on and brilliantly simple and one I will make this weekend when a couple potlucks are on the social calendar. Safe travels, Tom
On December 2, 2011 at 6:25 am
Adriano Petrich says:
Very nice! Here in Brazil we have a lebanese eggplant dip called Babaganoush I’m wondering how the M’tabbal is different from that
On December 2, 2011 at 6:31 am
@Adriano: Baba ghanouj is what it is also called, probably in Syria where they like to use pomegranate molasses with it. The key is to smoke the eggplant and to go easy on the tahini; too much tahini and as my aunt Wadad says (she makes the best one), “you ruin it!”.
On December 2, 2011 at 9:46 am
Hope all your travels are safe-and delicious 😉
On December 2, 2011 at 7:19 am
I never knew how good baba ganouj could be until I came to Beirut and discovered Mutabbal. The best I’ve had (and I’ve tried it everywhere I’ve eaten, now that I’m a connoisseur!) is at the Palace Cafe on the Corniche. Lovely smoky flavor, eaten mere inches from the sea. Enjoy your trip!
On December 2, 2011 at 7:26 am
mmm, one of my favorites! I don’t know why I never think to make it at home. I really should!
On December 2, 2011 at 7:39 am
Belinda @zomppa says:
Glad you made it! And definitely a classic to enjoy.
On December 2, 2011 at 7:50 am
Enjoy! have a good time, please post pictures.
On December 2, 2011 at 8:01 am
I LOVE this recipe, love eggplant dip made this way. It has been much too long since I have made it.
On December 2, 2011 at 8:41 am
Culinaire Amoula says:
Une savoureuse recette libanaise que j’adore!!!!
Merci pour le partage.
On December 2, 2011 at 8:49 am
The dip looks absolutely delicious..:) Keep safe..
On December 2, 2011 at 8:57 am
Quelle chance tu as. Profite au maximum de ton séjour.
Un m’tabbal plein de saveurs.
A très bientôt
On December 2, 2011 at 10:16 am
Safely down! And still coming up with enticements to lure me into the kitchen. It’s the charring of the eggplant that I so love.
On December 2, 2011 at 10:50 am
Un délicieux retour aux sources bien gourmand et léger, bisous et bon WE
On December 2, 2011 at 12:47 pm
I knew this recipe as Baba Ghanoush, good to know the other name, too. And I made it myself for the first time recently. Very good dip
On December 2, 2011 at 2:11 pm
I’m going to have to try this out, the last time I tried to make baba ghanouj it was a complete disaster.
Happy to hear you arrived safely!
On December 2, 2011 at 4:23 pm
delicious dip Joumana, have a good weekend….
On December 3, 2011 at 1:09 am
Bo W says:
This dip sounds so delicious…hope your having a great trip and enjoying plenty of good food.
On December 3, 2011 at 4:31 am
I like egg plant and tahini, both. This seems like a delicious dip or starter and also is so healthy!
On December 3, 2011 at 11:30 am
Lemons and Anchovies says:
I have all the ingredients for this eggplant dip. Love the idea of not using too much tahini–for me, the flavor tends to overpower sometimes. Can’t wait to try it!
On December 3, 2011 at 4:16 pm
Libyan Food says:
Lovely recipe and much lighter than our Libyan version of baba ghanuj, perfect too because I only have a tiny amount of tahina left and was going to make a very yogurty baba ghanuj tomorrow
Does anyone have a definition of mtabbal and baba ghanuj? And is there a third terms word used for chooped grilled aubergine mixed with tomatoes and parsely sometimes with a drizzle of tahina sometimes without? Because I know that as mtabbal 🙂 another lebanese blog had a recipe for mtabal that made me think I had it right
On December 3, 2011 at 5:23 pm
@Lybian food: Both baba ghanouj and m’tabbal are different names for the same dish; regional variations call it differently; m’tabbal means something seasoned and the actual name for this dish is m’tabbal al-betenjane. Baba ghanouj means cuddly daddy and I guess it was a term of endearment ; need to find out why it was called this way, will keep you posted.
On December 4, 2011 at 2:31 am
Sam @ My Carolina Ki says:
Glad you’ve landed safely. The charring of the eggplant must give it a fantastic, smoky flavor. Beautiful presentation too.
On December 4, 2011 at 7:00 am
Divya @flavourfiesta says:
I used to have this quite often as a child when I was growing up in the Middle East. For some reason, I’ve never made it at home since then! Thanks for sharing, I’ll have to try this one out.
On December 4, 2011 at 12:46 pm
Angie's Recipes says:
Silky, garlicky, smokey, creamy….oh man..I am drooling!
On December 4, 2011 at 1:06 pm
tu es de retour à beyrouth !! tu vas encore nous régaler !!Pierre
On December 4, 2011 at 1:24 pm
Is it same as Baba Ganoush? I love this dip!
On December 4, 2011 at 3:18 pm
After safe journey, I think we’ll see a lot of different dishes in the origin of …
I love this dish and I make a lot in summer time.
On December 5, 2011 at 2:18 am
Nuts about food says:
I was just going to ask how thise differed from babghanouj, but I read through your answers and got the answer. It really must have tasted like being home!
On December 5, 2011 at 5:33 am
Thank you for clearing that up, I thought my Libyan 3rd hand knowledge of Shami salads was to blame for my confusion 🙂 Made your recipe and it is much easier and delicious plus lighter than any recipe I’ve used before, my new favourite
On December 5, 2011 at 11:32 am
@LibyanFood: so glad to heat this! Thanks for letting me know!
On December 5, 2011 at 2:40 pm
I hope you enjoy your time in Lebanon. I can see what you mean by just needing one dish to feel home. I wish I had decent aubergines to try your version or one of my all time favourites.
On December 6, 2011 at 8:53 am
Looks great, but I’m only worried about one thing. Even in Turkey, the winter eggplants are seldom ripe enough. So, after charring, I cook them in the oven for a while. In the summer it’s ok to just char.
On February 25, 2013 at 10:32 am
@Ali: good point! I guess here we char them to death! 🙂
On February 25, 2013 at 10:55 am