A lesser known mezze platter dip made from eggplants is either moutabal or babaganoush. And there is always a confusion between the two – and only those from the region, or closely connected seem to know the difference – and most of these differences depend on whom you ask.
While both have a roasted eggplant as the prime ingredient, their tastes and textures are different. A traditional moutabal has tahini, yogurt and garlic with the eggplant, and is slightly smoother. Babaganoush has pomegranate molasses, tomatoes, onions and parsley and has more of a choppy texture to it.
In both recipes, the eggplant has a beautiful aromatic smoky taste, which can be achieved by only one way – open flame roasting. The skin burns up, leaving the inside flesh softened, and is scooped out easily. Once the eggplant has cooled, gently peel off the skin and mash well with a fork.
My version of moutabal with tahini borrows tomatoes and onions from the babaganoush. Instead of molasses, I opt for the pomegranate gems to garnish on top.
- 1 big round eggplant
- 2 tbsp tahini paste
- 2 tbsp thick yogurt
- 1 tomato finely chopped
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 2 clove of garlic minced
- ½ cup pomegranates
- Salt + pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Sprinkle of sumac
- First roast the well washed and dried eggplant on an open flame. Roast until the eggplant skin has burnt up well and the insides have softened. This should take about 20 minutes.
- Once cooled, gently peel off the skin and fork out the mushy inside parts into a bowl and mash as well as you can.
- Add in the rest of the ingredients and combine well.
- Serve by spreading a thick layer on a plate, drizzle olive oil on top and garnish with some pomegranate seeds and a sprinkle of sumac.