This smoked eggplant dish, known as baba ghanouj or baba ganoush, is cooked to perfection by Syrian-Australian sisters Carol and Sharon Salloum, co-owners of Sydney's Almond Bar.
Prick each eggplant with a fork in three places. Using tongs, turn the eggplants over an open gas stovetop flame or grill over an open fire until they are charred all over and the skin is starting to crack. The whole point is to burn the skin, so do not worry when this happens!
Place the charred eggplants in a bowl of cold water to cool for about 10 minutes, then hold them under a slow stream of cold running water, and remove the stalks and peel off the blackened skin.
Open the eggplants and remove as many seeds as possible from the centre. You may not be able to take out every last seed; just do your best as this will help rid the eggplant of any bitterness. Once cleaned, place the eggplant in a colander to drain.
Place the eggplant, tahini, lemon juice, garlic and salt in a food processor and blend for 3–4 minutes or until well combined. The baba ghanouj should not be completely smooth – slightly lumpy is good, but you don’t want any big chunks of eggplant in the mix. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and pulse a couple of times.
Spoon the baba ghanouj into a shallow bowl and garnish with a sprinkling of sumac, some finely diced tomato and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve with Middle Eastern or your choice of bread. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days.
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