Easy Turkish Baba Ganoush.I want to travel to Turkey, and it is very high on my must-visit list. Being a history buff, it couldn’t be more interesting to me since so many civilizations have passed through there. But that is not why I want to go so badly. It’s for Turkish food, like the baba ganoush, of course!
I’ve had Turkish food in our place and thought it was great. But then I went to Germany, where there is a huge Turkish population, and had some there. It was unbelievable. So I can only imagine how fantastic it must be to have it in Turkey.
Turkish cuisine should be way more popular here than it is, especially with more and more people becoming vegetarians and vegans (see more vegetarian recipes here). Mediterranean cuisine makes it easy to not eat meat, but the food in Turkey takes it to a new level. They really know how to treat vegetables to get the most flavor out of them.
Typical baba ganoush is roasted eggplant with sesame tahini and spices blended up into a fine paste and used mainly as a dip. This baba ganoush version is actually called abagannuc and is a chunkier version without the tahini and the addition of other vegetables. When I had baba ganoush in Germany, it was served with grilled meats and rice pilaf as a sort of accompaniment to the meat. So, it can be eaten as a dip with some crusty bread or pita chips, as a side dish or as a sauce. I can’t wait to try this on some grilled fish!
How To Make My Turkish Baba Ganoush
The first thing to do to make this Turkish baba ganoush is to fire up the charcoal grill. Unless you don’t have one or, like me, didn’t have any charcoal for it. It just won’t taste right, though, without that smoky flavor. All is not lost! I have a simple secret ingredient. Liquid smoke. With just a teaspoon, you can roast the veggies in the oven and still get that grilled, smoke flavor. So, that’s what I did.
I heated my oven to 375°F and sprayed a sheet pan with cooking spray. I then cut a large eggplant in half and placed it cut side down. I also put on the pan a red bell pepper, half an onion peeled, and a whole head of garlic, cut in half. Then I sprayed them with cooking spray and baked them for about 45 minutes or until everything was soft and had a nice char on them.
Let everything cool a little, and peel the pepper. When it is roasted and cooled, the skin peels right off. Deseed it and chop it up along with chopping the rest of the vegetables, except for the garlic. For that, you need to squeeze the soft garlic cloves out of the head. Add the paste to the rest of the chopped vegetables. Now, you can leave the vegetables roughly chopped or finely puree them or even lightly process them in a chopper. That’s a matter of taste. I liked it lightly processed, so I added it to the chopper and gave it a few whirls.
Then just add some salt and pepper to taste, a half teaspoon of liquid smoke, a half teaspoon of ground cumin, a half teaspoon of chili powder and either a teaspoon of sumac or the juice of a half lemon. If you have never heard of sumac, it is very popular in Middle Eastern cuisine. It’s a dried berry, similar to a cranberry, that is dried and ground. So, it gives a nice sour note as a lemon would. Don’t use sumac and lemon as it might be too sour. Finish with 2 tablespoons of very good olive oil. This is when you should have some premium stuff that you don’t cook with.
What separates this recipe from a baba ganoush is that there is no tahini in it. Some people put a little yoghurt in, which you can do. Well, you can put tahini in, too, if you really want to. I won’t stop you!
When it is all mixed together with the spices and olive oil, I like to let the baba ganoush sit in the fridge for at least 2 hours, but, overnight is better. Then to serve, get out some crusty bread and eat it on that with a tapas spread, top some grilled chicken or fish with it, or, as I had in Germany, just serve on the side with some grilled meats and rice as the vegetable.
As I mentioned, when you have roasted vegetable abagannuc to eat, it is very easy to be vegan. Vegan doesn’t have to mean trying to recreate meat dishes using no meat or dairy. Take a cue from the Mediterranean on how to go meatless and dairy free. If you aren’t a vegan or vegetarian, you won’t miss the meat in a dish like Turkish Baba Ganoush!
Easy Turkish Baba Ganoush
- 1 large eggplant
- 1 large red bell pepper
- ½ large onion
- 1 large garlic
- ½ teaspoon liquid smoke
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon sumac
- 1 pinch salt to taste
- 1 pinch pepper to taste
- Set your oven to 375°F and spray a sheet pan with spray oil.
- Place vegetables on a sheet pan and spray them with cooking spray, and place them in the oven for 45 minutes or until soft throughout and charred on the outside.
- When they are cool, peel the pepper and deseed, squeeze the cloves of garlic out and place everything in a food chopper.
- Process it until your preferred consistency.
- Add the olive oil and spices and refrigerate 2 hours overnight.