Impress your guests with this smoky eggplant dip that uses 5 ingredients and no special equipment. Charring the eggplant straight on a gas hob or BBQ cuts down prep time AND gives the best smoky flavour. Serve with pita chips, flatbreads or focaccia for a very moreish party bite.
When eggplant’s done right, it’s SENSATIONAL. It’s creamy, melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness. But when it’s done wrong, it’s sad, chewy and tasteless. This recipe is eggplant done RIGHT.
The dip itself (also known as baba ghanoush) uses just FIVE main ingredients and is packed with SO much complex flavour. Smokiness and silkiness from the eggplants, creamy nuttiness from the tahini, plus lots of garlic and fresh, zesty lemon juice to tie it together.
Charring the eggplant right on a gas hob serves two purposes – it’s SUPER quick and it gives it the most gorgeous smoky flavour you just can’t replicate in the oven. However, if you don’t have a gas hob, you can absolutely cook the eggplant in the oven, or better still, on a barbecue.
There are four key ingredients you’ll need for the dip (plus salt) – and then a few optional garnishes to jazz up the presentation.
- Tahini. While tahini is now much more commonly available in large grocery stores, the quality can differ vastly. I prefer Israeli, Lebanese or Palestinian tahini, rather than tahini made in Greece or Cyprus. I’ve found those to have a MUCH better and creamier consistency, the others can be quite bitter and claggy. Tahini, like peanut butter, likes to separate a little in the jar (the oil will rise to the top while the solids will go to the bottom). To counter this, I like to store it upside down, and always give it a very good stir with a knife before using it.
- Lemon. Fresh lemon is best if possible, otherwise, use bottled lemon juice.
- Garlic. This recipe uses four garlic cloves so it is quite garlicky – if you’re not a garlic fan you can cut out a clove or two. Or for a milder garlic taste, use confit garlic.
Optional garnishes: pomegranate seeds, flat-leaf parsley (or use mint), a drizzle of olive oil and dukkah.
How to make it
Pierce your eggplants all over with a fork, then place them directly onto a gas hob. Turn the heat on to high then cook for about 10 minutes, turning every couple of minutes until SUPER charred all over (they should be basically falling apart). PRO TIP: For an easy clean-up, line underneath your hob with aluminium foil.
Transfer the eggplant to a mixing bowl and cover with clingfilm to steam and cool.
Once cool enough to handle, peel off the charred eggplant skin (this should be easy enough to do if they’re cooked enough). Chop the eggplant – you can do this either very finely so it’s a smoother consistency, or keep it quite chunky, it’s up to you – then transfer it back into the mixing bowl. There will be a pool of smoky juices in there – you want this to add to the smoky flavour and help loosen up the dip so don’t throw it away.
Add the lemon juice, garlic, tahini and salt and mix into a cohesive dip. I prefer not to mix this dip in a blender or food processor as it shouldn’t be completely smooth, but you can if you like.
Transfer to a serving plate or bowl, then drizzle with a little olive oil, and scatter over your flat-leaf parsley, dukkah and pomegranate seeds. Serve with your favourite chips (I love pita chips), soft flatbreads or chilli cheese focaccia.
Got a question?
You sure can – I always do this if possible when I’m entertaining, to save time. It will keep well for at least 3 days, stored in the fridge in a covered container.
Yes, you can. Pierce the eggplants all over, then place them in the oven at 200C/390F for about 50 minutes, turning them halfway through.
Sometimes I like to add in some chilli flakes (1 or 2 teaspoons), or mixing in some Greek yogurt or labneh is another nice way to add an extra layer of creaminess. You can also mix the pomegranate seeds and flat-leaf parsley through the dip for more texture, rather than scattering them on top.
Five ways to serve the dip
- Serve as part of antipasti and dips spread, along with a pile of pita chips, soft flatbreads, chilli cheese focaccia and marinated olives, mini mozzarella balls and marinated feta.
- Spoon it into juicy Greek-style lamb burgers, or serve it with lamb koftas or harissa grilled chicken.
- Use it as a quick pasta sauce.
- Add it to chicken shawarma wraps for a creamy, smoky hit of flavour.
- Dollop onto crostini and top with marinated feta or honey harissa halloumi for a Middle Eastern-style party snack.
Like this recipe? Here are more easy dips you might like to try
If you make this recipe, I’d love to hear from you! You can leave me a comment below.Print