Friday, 22 May 2015

Smokey and nutty Mtabbal Badinjan (or eggplant's Mutabbal)


How you prepare your eggplants will make all the difference in this famous Levantine mezze/starter.

Before we get on with the recipe, what looks like Mutabbal for some is considered Baba ghanouj for others. The two have many ingredients in common.

So the confusion is on a worldwide scale. However, if you go to a Syrian restaurant, they will be clear on which is which (on a general note), while some other Middle Eastern countries will call this Baba ghanouj (- the yogurt)

Roasting the eggplants in a oven would not give you an authentic smokey taste. Your best bet is charcoal or over an open flame of a gas knob  and you just rotate every 4 minutes until it's done.


Now the seasoning of the mashed eggplants is also a matter of personal preference. Some like more tahini, some like more lemon..You just have to adjust it to your own taste.


Ingredients
Serves 4
Prep: 5 min - Cooking: 20-30 min

  • 1 medium-size eggplant/aubergine, roasted (char-grill or over a gas knob is the best option)
  • 1 tbsp of tahini
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup of thick natural yogurt
  • 2 tbsps of fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp of vinegar
  • 1 raw garlic clove , grated (or less, depending on the garlic used)
  • Salt to taste
For garnish
  • Good extra virgin olive oil
  • Paprika
  • Parsley, chopped


Preparation

Prick the eggplant in different places. Roast it until it looks withered and charred from outside. Place in a plastic bag for a couple of minutes then remove the skin.



Scoop the flesh and transfer it to a strainer. Press the eggplant against it and discard the liquid. 

If you have used a type of eggplant which has a lot of seeds inside, discard them. Some are bitter.



Add the rest of the ingredients and mash the mix with a fork or chop them transfer to a pestle and mortar. Using a food processor for this is not my thing. I like a rough texture with tiny bits of eggplant.

Garnish it and dress it with the best extra virgin olive you can get hold of, Sprinkle some paprika and chopped parsley.

Serve chilled with pita bread or crackers...



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