Muttabel al-badanjan متبل الباذنجان (Aubergine “dip”)

Muttabel al-badanjan in Arabic literally means spiced aubergine and is similar to Baba Ghanoush. There are numerous recipes some which use yogurt and others which do not; I personally prefer it with yogurt but each to his own. It is also one of those dishes that transcends many borders such as Iran where it is known as Kashk-e bademjan or Greece where it is known as Melitzanosalata.

Anyways, this is my recipe which is based on a few different muttabels my Arab friends have made.

Ingredients

2 large aubergines (eggplants)

1 clove garlic

4 Tbsp. tahinah

4 Tbsp. plain greek yogurt

2 Tbsp. lemon juice

Salt, to taste

1 ½ Tbsp. pomegranate molasses (optional)

Cinnamon powder, to taste

Method

1 Grill the aubergines over an open flame (such as kitchen stove) until the skin has blackened. Make sure to turn them over so they get evenly cooked. Alternatively you can bake them in the oven but you will loose that smoky flavour which is essential in good muttabel.

2 Once they aubergines have blackened, plunge in ice cold water and remove the skins.

3 Using a large pestle and mortar, pound the garlic into a paste and add the aubergine and also pound but make sure not to over pound the aubergines as a bit of texture is always good.

4 Add the rest of the ingredients one by one starting with the tahinah, then the yoghurt, lemon juice, salt and finish off with the pomegranate molasses. Combine well.

5 Serve in a dish and sprinkle generously with cinnamon powder. Muttabel al-badajaan

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