Saturday, June 4

Summertime and the .......

Eggplants are flying around =)

So what's better than sitting in the sun, enjoying a glass of wine (or 2 ;-) ) and some nice thingies to accompany that glass? Last year I had a quick introduction to the Arabic cuisine. I've always tried some here in Amsterdam, but as I always say, you should eat the food in the place where it comes from so you can guess I didn't like it too much. Didn't understand why people where loving it so much.

But then a Greek lady gave me some of her home-made Babaganoush and I loved it! So fresh and yummy and healthy at the same time. I know that almost every country surrounding the Mediterranean sea claims it's originated from their country and they all have their own secret recipe..... so here's just a recipe that I happened to like a lot. Of course you can experiment with it!

- 3 Eggplants
- 1 1/2 table spoon tahini (sesame paste)
- 2 cloves of garlic (minced) ( I don't like it too garlicky, but  3 is probably more 'Arabic')
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1 chili pepper
- 1 table spoon olive oil
- a handful of fresh Cilantro
- 2 table spoons of Lemon juice

1. preheat the oven to 250 C degrees. Make little holes in the eggplants using a fork. This will prevent the eggplants from exploding when the juices inside starts to boil. Turn the eggplants regularly. The eggplants are done when the skin is completely black and the inside is soft (you'll feel this when pressing it). This will take about 40 mins.
2. Leave them to cool a bit and then peel of the skin. Make sure all the black skin is removes unless you like a 'roasted'  flavour.
3. In a bowl put the tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt and chopped chili pepper.
4. Mix in the skin free, chopped up eggplant. If you like your babaganoush smooth, use a handmixer or foodprocessor.

When you are done it is time to taste! If you prefer it more spicy, more fresh or more.... just add some of that ingredient just as much untill you like your babaganoush. Just remember that the babaganoush gets better after being in the fridge for 2 days. So if you add a lot of chili pepper..... you know where I am getting..

Serve the babaganoush on a flat platter, spread it out and pour a little bit of oliveoil on top and garnish it with some cilantro leaves. Serve with Arabic pita bread or slices of baguette.

I you like to experiment with it... I like to use babaganoush as a bread spread and top it off with tomatoes, cucumber and onion.

NB. The other Arabic dish: moutabel is almost the same but I found it often spicier. Also I found that, depending on country of origin, babaganoush is a chunky spread and not a smooth one like moutabel. The basis of moutabel and babaganoush is the same. 

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