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Baba ghanoush

Course Appetizer
Place of origin Middle East
Main ingredients Eggplant, olive oil
16x16px Cookbook:Mutabbal  16x16px Mutabbal

Baba ghanoush (Arabic بابا غنوج bābā ghannūj, also appears as baba ganush, baba ghannouj or baba ghannoug[1]) is a Levantine dish of cooked eggplant mixed with onions, tomatoes, olive oil and various seasonings. The Arabic term means "pampered papa" or "coy daddy", perhaps with reference to a member of a royal harem.[2]

The Arabic preparation method is for the eggplant to be baked or broiled over an open flame before peeling, so that the pulp is soft and has a smoky taste.[3] Often, it is eaten as a dip with khubz or pita bread, and is sometimes added to other dishes. It is popular in the Levant (area covering Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine and Syria) as well as in Armenia.[1]

A similar dish, but with mashed eggplants and without other vegetables, is known as mutabbal (متبل literally 'spiced') in the Levant but is called baba ghanoush in Egypt.


In Syria and Lebanon, baba ghanoush is a starter or appetizer. It is made of eggplant blended with finely diced onions, tomatoes, and other vegetables. The Egyptian version, known in the Levant as mutabbal, is made of roasted, peeled, and mashed eggplant, blended with tahini, garlic, salt, and lemon juice. Cumin and chili powder can be added. It is normally served with a dressing of olive oil and pomegranate concentrate. In the traditional method, the eggplant is first roasted in an oven for approximately 30 to 90 minutes (depending on the size of the eggplant) until the skin appears almost burnt and the eggplant begins to collapse. The softened flesh is scooped out, squeezed or salted to remove excess water, and is then pureed with the tahini. There are many variants of the recipe, especially the seasoning. Seasonings include garlic, lemon juice, ground cumin, salt, mint, and parsley. When served on a plate or bowl, it is traditional to drizzle the top with olive oil.[4]

It is eaten in Turkey, where a similar meze is called patlıcan salatası (meaning "eggplant salad"). In Turkey, patlıcan salatası is made with mashed eggplants while baba ghanoush is cut not mashed. The baba ghanoush can be found (with cut eggplants) in southern Turkey, especially in Antakya. Also as the name Baba means father in Arabic and Turkish, in the regions where Arab population is large, the other word used in Arabic for father, Abu, is sometimes used and therefore it can be known as Abu-Gannoush. And, in Greece, it is called melitzanosalata (μελιτζανοσαλάτα; "eggplant salad"). In Israel, both the traditional version made with tahina and a variation made with mayonnaise is widely available.[5]

Israelis traditionally use "wild" eggplants known as "baladi" (from Arabic 'of the earth, indigenous'). It is made with tahini, olive oil, lemon and parsley.

Known as Bhaingan Bhartha it is a common dish in the Punjab region of India and Pakistan.[6] Another variant called Badenjaan Borani is served in Afghanistan and Pakistan. This recipe uses yoghurt and onions.

See also


  1. ^ a b Egyptian Cuisine and Recipes
  2. ^ Oxford English Dictionary
  3. ^ Khayat, Marie Karam; Keatinge, Margaret Clark. Food from the Arab World, Khayats, Beirut, Lebanon.
  4. ^ The Cooking of the Middle-East, Foods of the World, Time-Life Books, 1969.
  5. ^ Levy, F. Feast from the Mideast, Harper Collins, 2003, p.41. ISBN 0-06-009361-7
  6. ^ Jack Santa Maria. Indian Vegetarian Cookery. Random House, 2012. Baingan Bhartha
General sources