I love aubergines, especially smoky aubergines. My husband is also a massive fan of them, yet we rarely have them in my house, despite the fact that we love aubergine dip. Nowadays I never need to salt the fresh aubergines I buy, as some miracle has rendered them less bitter. But I totally remember a mess of salting and straining and rinsing years ago, so maybe it’s the ghost of this memory that stops me from buying them….
Or the ghost of India. Every time I sliced into an aubergine in India I would find a worm in it. I cannot deal with wormy food. Everyone would be like, “”just take the worms out”! “It’s a good sign!”, as in it meant that they weren’t covered in pesticide (or maybe they were but it was really useless pesticide…). But I could not deal. Every time I saw a little wormy head poking out of the cut I had just made, I suddenly lost all my appetite for aubergines.
How do they even get in there? There are no holes or marks on the outside? Do they burrow in to aubergine seeds, to later emerge from a perfectly unblemished aubergine’s belly, a lá alien-style?
I switched to baby aubergines, which seemed less worm-prone, and had great success with them, particularly with this delicious recipe where they were stewed whole with tomatoes and spices (I will totally replicate this dish and post it later). Until that fateful day when I discovered worms in even my precious baby aubergines….
I swore off aubergines for the remainder of our time in India, and have been overdosing on them ever since we got back to Spain. Baba ganoush is amazing and I’m forever trying to make the perfect version. One afternoon I decided to whip some up one, to serve as part of a mezze dinner (also featuring hummus, socca and tirokafteri dip). I can never find tahini in Spain so I often use peanut butter instead. Oh and if you’re looking for a hummus recipe, Pinelopi over at Maninio has a fantastic one for the original arabic hummus.
We had just had some particularly delish baba ganoush at a kebab house one afternoon so I was looking to replicate the flavours. I hadn’t made hob-roasted aubergines in quite a while as we had moved to an apartment which has an induction hob and not a gas one. But while attempting to make roti bread without a gas cooker, I’d had a breakthrough and realized that if I placed a wire baking tray over an induction plate, I would get the same effect as gas flames.
So if you’re lucky enough to have a gas hob, roast your aubergines directly on the flames. Otherwise, place a wire baking rack over your induction or vitroceramic hob and roast your aubergines on it. Note that I also use toasted cumin in this recipe, which is basically happier and tastier cumin.
Simply pop your ground cumin in a non-stick frying pan over a medium-high heat for a few minutes, shaking it every now and then, until it’s darker and really fragrant. Toasting your cumin will really lift the flavours in this aubergine dip.
- 3 medium aubergines
- 1 large red pepper
- 2 cloves crushed garlic
- 3 tablespoons Lemon juice to taste
- ¼ cup Olive oil
- Black pepper
- 1 tsp Salt
- 4 tablespoons peanut butter
- 1 tsp tabasco/red chilli powder
- A little fresh coriander for garnish
- ¼ tsp toasted cumin
- Pinch smoked paprika on top
- Roast your aubergines, and your red pepper, turning until properly charred and blackened on each side. Poke your aubergine with a knife in the middle to check that it’s soft all the way through. Slip your roasted red pepper into a ziplock bag and leave the vegetables to cool.
- When the vegetables are cool enough to handle, remove the pepper from the ziplock bag and peel off the skin. It should slip right off. Roughly chop the flesh and add to a blender.
- Peel the aubergines. Roughly chop the flesh, mix with a little salt, and leave in a colander to drain for at least fifteen minutes. I sometimes skip this step but I always regret it as the dip then doesn’t keep as well in the fridge.
- Squeeze as much excess moisture as possible out of the aubergine and add to the blender.
- Add all the remaining ingredients and blend.
- Chill for at least half an hour and serve.
Amount Per Serving Calories 381 Total Fat 23g Saturated Fat 4g Trans Fat 0g Unsaturated Fat 17g Cholesterol 0mg Sodium 675mg Carbohydrates 45g Fiber 13g Sugar 16g Protein 8g