When I was a kid, my mother cooked eggplants at least twice a week. I didn’t mind the eggplant cooked with meat and tomatoes, but I found the baba ganoush disgusting. I couldn’t even look at it. My love affair with baba ganoush started accidentally in high school. When a friend of mine offered me one of the sandwiches his mom had made for him.
I thought I was eating hummus when I saw the light beige spread. When I took a bite, my tongue was taken by surprise. I tasted a smoky flavor I had never tasted before. It was weird but I kept eating, trying to figure out what I was eating. When I asked Udi what I had eaten, he said “Oh, I think you got the one with the baba ganoush!” “What? No way! I hate baba ganoush!” Well, since then, not anymore.
Therefore, I always encourage my boys and students to keep trying foods they dislike. Our taste buds constantly develop and learn, like our brains. Eventually, you’ll become an eggplant lover, if you aren’t already. Eggplants are so meaty and delicious.
Anyway, this is not baba ganoush, it’s its Irinian brother. I adapted the recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks, “The Bottom of The Pot” by Naz Deravian. Her recipes are like her writing- beautiful, poetic and rich.
Quick & Simple Eggplant Dip
- Avocado or olive oil
- 2 medium filipino - sliced in half lengthwise – or regular eggplants*
- 1 medium onion - diced small
- 2-3 garlic cloves - sliced
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon dried meat or any dry herb
- 1 handful walnuts - chopped
- Plant-based yogurt
- Preheat the oven to 400F° (200C°).
- Brush the flesh of the eggplants in olive oil and place them on a baking tray. Sprinkle over them a little bit of salt and roast until the eggplants are very tender, about for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, warm about 3-4 tablespoons of oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and stir often. Lower the heat if necessary, don’t let them brown too fast. Cook for 8 minutes then add the dried mint. Continue to cook and stir until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Set a side.
- Let the eggplant cool down then using a spoon, spoon their flesh and put into the skillet (if you used regular eggplants*, then put their meat into a colander, to drain the liquids). Mash them with the spoon a bit and mix with the onion and garlic. Taste and correct seasoning.
- Serve in a deep plate the chopped walnuts sprinkled over and a spoonful of yogurt.
- Eat with good bread or as a side.