The inside scoop: top restaurant tips on how to nail the ever-so-popular baba ghannouj
There is, in fact, a secret to cooking the perfect eggplant. It all comes down to the grilling, seasoning and preparation. Eggplant is the key ingredient to brilliant baba ghannouj and exudes a smoky, full-fragrant flavour.
When preparing the perfect baba ghannouj, it is essential to remember to cook it over an open flame. Not only does it add to the flavour of this beautiful dip, but it adds to the experience. There is something wonderful about cooking outdoors over an open flame on both a cold winter or hot summers night. Even though you may end up smelling like a smoky flame, it is all worth it!
Eggplant is a unique vegetable, and we are here to unravel some essential notes about the preparation involved in turning eggplant into baba ghannouj. If you aren’t looking at making your baba ghannouj, there’s no need to fear – Zahli Modern Middle Eastern Restaurants in Sydney serves up a smooth, velvety and smoky baba ghannouj – the best you’ve ever tasted.
The top Lebanese food restaurants expose the many faces of eggplant
Eggplant is honoured to serve more than one purpose
The term ‘eggplant’ is the Australian and North American term used for this gorgeous, glossy vegetable. Although native to India and Pakistan, this beautiful vegetable has found its way all over the world and has similar texture and shape to a potato and tomato. We are so glad that eggplant has made its way to us, otherwise, Middle Eastern/Lebanese restaurants wouldn’t be able to serve the brilliant baba ghannouj.
Eggplant doesn’t need salting
Modern varieties of eggplant have the bitterness bred out of them, making salting no longer necessary. Salt is usually added to get rid of the bitter taste. However, eggplant can also be cooked both salted and unsalted. If you are want to prepare your eggplant with salt, it usually used less oil and is cooked slightly quicker. This is because the salting process softens up the eggplant, resulting in less oil takeup. Eggplant is also an incredibly diverse vegetable with a variety of different cooking methods. It can be cooked in the microwave, oven, grill or the way we like it, over an open flame. The best Lebanese food restaurants prepare eggplants over an open fire to give the vegetable a smoky and full flavour.
Eggplant and olive oil = the perfect combination
We have one tip. Be generous with olive oil when preparing eggplant. This allows the vegetable to bring out its full flavour and develop the wonderful silky texture. Eggplant grilled or cooked without has an entirely different texture/flavour in comparison to eggplant cooked or fried in olive oil.
Eggplants don’t like to be cold
Like most of us, eggplants don’t like to be in -4-degree temperatures. This vegetable is best kept at room temperature similar to tomatoes.
Eggplant loves the Summer
Although they are available all-year-round, eggplant is in peak season from late spring to early autumn.
Bigger isn’t always better
Not too big or not too small. Medium-sized eggplants are usually best! Eggplants that are smooth and shiny are most likely to be the freshest and have the least seeds.
Eggplant shouldn’t be eaten raw
It doesn’t taste good; it doesn’t feel right; it is certainly not good for you! Eating eggplant raw is a big NO. They contain the toxin solanine, which can cause health implications if consumed excessively.
How to make the best baba ghannouj, Zahli Lebanese Restaurant-style!
Smoky, flavoursome and authentic, baba ghannouj is made with smoky grilled eggplant, tahini, garlic and lemon! A brilliant baba ghannouj is one that is full of complexity and depth. Although the ingredients to baba ghannouj are simple, it can be surprising how easy it is to mess it up. The key is to have the right ratio of seasoning and ingredients.
The key to the best baba ghannouj is keeping it simple and adding the element of smoke. Traditional preparation of baba ghannouj is when eggplant is grilled over a wood-burning fire. The charring of the eggplant over heat infuses the baba ghannouj with an amazing smoky flavour, which is then further encapsulated with tahini and olive oil.
So, how do you make a good baba ghannouj?
- Roast or grill your eggplant over an open fire until they have collapsed
- Peel the skill off of the eggplant
- Extract as much moisture as you can from the eggplant
- Whip up the dip in a food processor or mix it by hand with a fork
- Add seasoning and other elements (tahini, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, salt) if you like it to be salty
- et voila! You have made a delicious baba ghannouj
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