Both these dishes call for Tahini (white sesame seed paste).

If you are in India or some place where tahini is not easily available, try this:
Grind to a smooth paste toasted white sesame seeds with a couple tablespoons of sesame oil or vegetable oil. there are two types of sesame oil – the dark brown toasted variety, used in Chinese cooking, and the light yellowish variety used to make dosas or Indian pickles. You need the lighter variety.

If you want to prepare these dishes at the spur of the moment and have neither tahini, nor white sesame seeds, drop it.
It won’t be authentic, but it’ll still be good. Toasted and ground up almonds or cashews may work as well.

Plain hummus is fabulous. We’ve added olives to ours. Try and get the oil-cured ones, as opposed to those forlorn ones floating in brine. Or get these dry-packed ones from your local Arab, Iranian, or Afghan store.

Other recommended additions: sun dried tomatoes, spring onions, roasted red peppers, herbs, basically whatever floats your boat.


Olive Hummus

1/3 cup dried chickpeas/garbanzo beans (or 1 cup canned)
3 tbsps tahini
3 tbsps. lemon (or lime) juice
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 tsp. roasted cumin seeds
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
10 deseeded black olives
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
a sprinkling of paprika
salt to taste

1. Soak the dried chickpeas for 8 hours. Rinse and cook them with plenty of water and salt on the stove top or in a pressure cooker. When you press one between your fingers, it should mash easily. Drain the chickpeas (you should have about a cup) and save the cooking liquid. If using canned, drain the chickpeas and rinse them well under running water.

2. Add everything except the paprika, a few olives for garnish and oregano to a food processor. Blend for 10 seconds or so, then pulse it to a not too coarse paste. Add some of the cooking liquid if necessary to get a dip-like consistency.

3. Adjust the salt and lemon juice, stir in the oregano, sprinkle the paprika, and garnish with the olives.

B never recalls eating eggplant (or brinjal as it is known in India) at home growing up. Not once.
Now, we do cook it, and this is our favourite way.

Picking an eggplant:
Smaller ones are younger, and tend to have fewer seeds. The seeds are bitter. There’s also this old wives’ tale about how the male is preferable to the female.eyeroll.gif

All about it here.

No matter what eggplant you pick, for the dish to turn out well, at the checkout you need to repeat fast, ten times: Bring Big Brinjal.

Here’s how we do it:

Get one reasonably plump eggplant, or two smaller ones, weighing about a pound. Wipe them clean with a moist towel. Cut them through the middle and place them cut side down on a foil-lined baking sheet. Lightly grease the foil as well.

If it’s a big eggplant, broil on high for 20 minutes. If they are smaller, they take between 12-15 minutes. The skin on the outside will be dry and charred. Poke it with a fork. It should go through easily.

Take the tray out of the oven, and let it sit covered with a tea towel for 5-10 minutes. When the eggplant is cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh, and discard the seeds.

You should get about a cup of flesh. The next step is important. Keep the eggplant flesh in the refrigerator for 4 hours to overnight. It will release some liquid.

Drain this liquid and keep aside. You may need it for blending. Removing the liquid gives the dish its concentrated eggplant flavour.

Finely mince 2 small cloves of garlic, add it to the eggplant with 3 tablespoons tahini, 2 tbsps. lemon/lime juice, salt, and 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil.

Blend everything together using the pulse mode in your food processor. Try not to make it into a paste. Use some of the eggplant liquid to thin it out if necessary. It should be the consistency of a dip. Add a pinch of cumin or cayenne if you feel like it.

Transfer it to a bowl. We like to sprinkle it with paprika. Serve it with veggie bites, chips, pitas, or on its own.

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  1. musical says:

    Olive Hummus…..YUMMY! Hummus is my all time favorite. These days i am upto copying Trader Joe’s Cilantro Jalapeno Hummus (totally fusion, ain’t it) :-D

    Baba Ghanouj looks good too. and that sprinkle of papriks, wow!

    “Serve ON ITS OWN” takes my vote :-D

    Great stuff, Bee n’ Jai.

  2. Reena says:

    love both recipes b & j. looks absolutely yum. i have a good lebanese friend here. so i tasted these and lots of yummy lebanese dishes at their place. i was planning to make baba ghanouj for meeta’s mm but didn’t get time. send some over :) as i am not getting enough time to cook:(.

  3. Jyothsna says:

    Thats the only way I eat brinjal! :) Its raining Arabic food!! And I’m loving it!

  4. roopa says:

    Hi B and J
    That’s another humus and Baba ghanouj wonderfull.It is realing tempting. The photos are very good!

  5. Anita says:

    Always used sesame seeds myself. Hummus and Baba ghanouj are so Indian in taste, that it is surprising that they are not! Bharta by another name…

    Bee, you’ve been saved by marriage! No eggplant while growing up!

  6. Nupur says:

    Oh, the olive hummus is to die for! What a beautiful presentation.

  7. Manasi says:

    Ooooohhhh! Hummus , too good……. must try… olives… hmmmmm!!!
    I will skip the eggplant …. I have this ‘psychological allergy’ to eggplant! :( (
    And as usual, beautiful presentation!

  8. nandita says:

    Two of my favourites for a weekend dinner, baba gannouj is my favourite Godman! And it’s one of the very few ways I will eat eggplant.

  9. Ranjani says:

    what amazing pics!!!..i was actually touching my laptop screen :) Even i have never eaten eggplant in India..used to hate it also i can eat only the brinjal fry ( indial style) ..

  10. shilpa says:

    Ohh thats looks so nice, I have read many recipes of hummus and baba ghanouj, I even had a few recipes with me, but never tried it. Your recipe has given me that last push. Good job bee,

  11. shivapriya says:

    Hey Bee & Jai
    Finally I got time to leave comment. I’m totally flattered with your blog and recipes. They all look easy to prepare. I love the way you post.

    welcome, shivapriya.

  12. [...] Hummus and Baba Ghanouj [...]

  13. [...] only dish we prepare at home with eggplant/brinjal/aubergine is baba ghanouj . We love this Lebanese dish and are not too fond of eggplants cooked other [...]

  14. Simran says:

    Hey Guys,
    You need to add the nutritional info too, that would help a person who always on a diet like me.

  15. [...] they were pretty. In my whole life, I’ve cooked eggplant maybe five or six times, and only as Baba Ghanouj. We made Yennegai once, but while I enjoyed the masala, I didn’t like the chunks of eggplant [...]

  16. [...] Little inclined to cook in a kitchen thick with humidity, I remembered a tempting recipe for Olive Hummus that I stumbled upon at Jugalbandi. Hummus served along with some chopped vegetables and pita [...]

  17. Alan says:

    Some of the ingredient amounts are left out – for instance

    1/ tsp. dried oregano

    I guessed but in the end the recipe didn’t turn out that great. I’d love to make it again once you post the proper amounts tho!

  18. [...] back of our minds when we bought some red peppers last week. Like its other West Asian cousins – hummus and baba ghanouj – Muhammara is creamy, sensuous, and [...]

  19. [...] with quinoa, chickpeas, basil, parsley, olives, orange, almonds, tomato, onion 2 tbsps oil-free baba ghanouj (eggplant dip) 2.00 p.m.: 1/2 cup creamy lentil-spinach stew with tomatillos and pure peanut butter [...]

  20. [...] posted some hummus variations before – Olive Hummus and Lima Bean Hummus. This time we added some pumpkin. Chickpeas and yellow pumpkin make a great [...]

  21. [...] the past three years, I’ve begun to like them. I started slowly with Baba Ghanouj (which I love) and then to some Indian dishes like Gotsu and Yennegai. I didn’t really dig [...]

  22. [...] pulled out a box of hummus and jars of roasted red peppers and olives from the [...]

  23. [...] sugar, or polyunsaturated oils. We bought it from the Middle Eastern store intending to make baba ghanouj. Need to go back and buy a whole case. (You can find it [...]

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