Who doesn’t love a good baba?
We could ramble on for a very long time about why this Middle Eastern staple is so good, but straight talking chef Matty Matheson has pretty much nailed it.
“It makes anything taste good. You could serve that on top of a f---ing shoe,” he says in his new show, It’s Suppertime, as he whips up a batch (catch the ep Friday, February 9, 6.35pm on SBS VICELAND, and then on SBS On Demand). “I love baba ganoush.”
His tips: Buy firm eggplants, with tight skin and no bruises; grill or roast until the skin is “nice and burnt”; and save the liquid that forms when you’re letting the charred eggplants steam and cool to add to the dip.
His version sits at the chunkier end of the spectrum, but if you like a creamy, well-pureed version, we’ve got you covered, too. Here are seven eggplant dips that we reckon would pass the shoe challenge.
Our Gourmet Garmer, Matthew Evans, uses a double-tap approach, charring his eggplants over a gas flame, then finishing them in the oven. It makes for deeper flavour in this baba, which he serves with haloumi. We repeat, baba with haloumi. Get at it, people.
This chunky version, from Abu Dhabi, adds chopped tomato and capsicum to the smoky eggplant.
Here's one for all you smooth operators, a creamy Lebanese take from the Food Safari archives.
Spiced with chilli, coriander and garam masala, this eggplant dip hails from England.
This one is clearly not baba ganoush, but it is definitely a shoe-level take on the eggplant dip! Made with smoky roasted eggplant and salty goat’s cheese, this dip is combined using knives to cut through the ingredients, maintaining texture.
Finally, here's Matty's take on this Middle Eastern treasure. Pile it on fresh pita. Not a shoe.
Evrim Gunce presents a fortnightly segment titled Food Journey, talking to chef and restaurateur Somer Sivrioglu about classic and regional Turkish meals.
In Persian households this is made every morning ready for lunch – the sound of the chopping of walnuts and parsley for the topping echoes throughout Persian neighbourhoods. The salty kashk cheese is a fermented by-product from cheese making and is available from Middle Eastern grocery stores. With its strong flavour it resembles a liquid feta cheese and is lovely in this recipe mixed with the golden eggplant and dried mint.