Baba ganoush and mutabal have one thing in common: they’re both a burnt aubergine mezze. Besides that, throughout the Arab world, they are two quite different things. Whereas mutabal is made creamy with the addition of tahini, baba ganoush on the other hand is much lighter and will always contain lemon, garlic, olive oil, herbs and fresh vegetables like peppers. This traditional version is commonly eaten throughout Syria and Lebanon. Serve with warm pita, as part of a mezze spread, or eat alongside kofta for a more substantial meal.
30 min +
1kg aubergine (about 4), pricked all over with a fork
1⁄2 small red pepper, deseeded and finely chopped into 1⁄2 cm cubes (60g)
1⁄2 small green pepper, deseeded and finely chopped into 1⁄2 cm cubes (60g) 100g ripe tomato (about 1), finely chopped
2 small garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
3 spring onions, trimmed, 2 finely chopped and 1 thinly sliced at an angle (45g) 15g parsley, finely chopped, plus 2 tbsp picked leaves to serve
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 1⁄2 tbsp pomegranate molasses
75 ml olive oil
50g pomegranate seeds (from 1⁄2 a pomegranate)
Fine sea salt
1. Place a large, lightly greased griddle pan over a high heat and ventilate your kitchen well. Once smoking, add the aubergine and grill for about 40 minutes, until completely softened and charred all over, turning as necessary. Set aside and, once cool enough to handle, peel and discard the stem and skins. Place the peeled aubergines into a colander set over a bowl and leave to drain for about 30-45 minutes, to release any of the bitter liquid. Once drained, finely chop the flesh (it will resemble a mash) and place into a large bowl.
2. To the aubergine bowl add the peppers, tomato, garlic, finely chopped spring onions, parsley, lemon juice, 11⁄2 tablespoons of molasses, 4 tablespoons of oil and 11⁄2 teaspoons of salt. Mix to combine and then spread out onto a wide shallow bowl. Drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoon each of molasses and oil. Scatter over the pomegranate seeds, sliced spring onion and extra picked parsley.