Welcome to part 7 of my Food from Home series!
- Part 1: Why I moved to the Middle East and Tabbouleh
- Part 2: All about shawarmas, and my favourite, Chicken Shawarmas
- Part 3: About my school and Vegetable Biryani
- Part 4: About eating out in Bahrain, and Shish Tawook (or Arabic/Turkish spiced grilled chicken)
- Part 5: About local traffic, golf, modeling, and Fattoush (an Arabic/Lebanese salad)
- Part 6: About Bahrain’s markets and Shrimp Masala
Bahrain isn’t exactly the world’s most attractive tourist destination, but for the tourists that it does attract, there are quite a few accommodation options available. Scattered around the island are a bunch of hotels – some that you’d never want to set foot into, and others that are absolutely gorgeous.
My family liked to frequent the Ritz Carlton, Crowne Plaza, and Movenpik, but not so much for overnight stays. What we were really after was the super extravagant weekend/holiday brunches. These weren’t just your average brunch. Most folk would go around 11 or 11:30am, and stay right up until 4 before (literally) rolling out. So what was the draw? I’ll let you see for yourself.
And we can’t forget about this staple….
As you can tell, there is virtually every single dessert creation you can imagine. But that was just half of it. Appetizer and main course-wise (depending on how many courses you wanted to have), there was mezzeh, sushi, breads, cheese platters, salads, fresh fruit, seafood, custom-made crepes, a stir-fry bar, a pasta bar, and custom-sliced roasted meats.
Oh and to wash it all down? You could go for the freshly-squeezed juices, but I think most people tend to lean towards the bottomless champagne!
Ok.. are you full yet? Or do you sense a cavity coming on from all that sugar? No worries, because I’ve got a light and savoury appetizer for you today. There is a babaghanoush recipe on my old recipes page, but it’s really not very aesthetically pleasing. In case you’re unfamiliar, I’m talking about a dip made primarily with this key ingredient:
Eggplant! This dish has about 5 different spellings but whether you see it as babaghanoush or babaghannouj, all of them refer to the same thing. Popular in the Middle East and parts of Africa like Syria and Egypt, you’ll probably find some here in our North American supermarkets next to your favourite hummus. Its uses are similar too – like hummus, babaghanoush makes a great (and nutritious) vehicle for getting any sort of raw veggie or pita to your mouth. Depending on the chef, other ingredients in the mix include veggies, parsley, mint, lemon juice, garlic, chili powder, and cumin.
Preparation of babaghanoush also varies, but I like to make mine by roasting the eggplant in the oven, peeling the skin, then pureeing all the ingredients in a food processor. In my opinion, it’s the easiest and quickest method, and the tastiest too!
Ready to make some for yourself? Let’s get to the recipe then!
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
Keywords: blender roast appetizer snack dairy-free gluten-free low-fat low-sodium nut-free soy-free vegan vegetarian sugar-free garlic vegetables Arabic Lebanese
Ingredients (About 1 cup)
- 1 large eggplant
- 2 tbsp tahini
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup fresh parsley, minced
- sea salt and black pepper, to season
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Stab the eggplant all over with a fork to stop it from exploding in the oven. (Please don’t forget to do this!) Place it on a baking sheet and roast the eggplant until for about 20 minutes, or until it becomes soft and the skin looks shriveled. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and allow the eggplant to cool.
When the eggplant is cool enough to touch, peel away the skin and discard it. Cut off the stem and chop the flesh into chunks, then transfer the pieces into your food processor. Puree until almost smooth.
Add the remaining ingredients to the food processor bowl and continue blending until a smooth paste forms. Scrape it into a bowl.
Babaghanoush should be served at room temperature, but I’ve found that any runniness you might have immediately after blending seems to go away after leaving the dip in the fridge for about 30 mins.
Serve with pita wedges, veggies, or as a sauce for sandwiches – like chicken shawarma sandwiches!
Click here to print the recipe.
That was easy, right? If eggplant is a stranger to the rest of the produce in your shopping cart, or if you’re trying to up your veggie intake, babaghanoush is a great way to introduce yourself to it. Think of it as hummus’ hot older cousin. Yummy. 😉