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RECIPE: Moutabal – classic aubergine dip

Moutabal is a regional staple, and a very common starter. Its simplicity belies its flavour.

Many restaurants pride themselves on having a more creative version, or secret recipes, but we are simply sharing the most basic, simple and tasty recipe here.
This is one of those dishes we should all know how to make – it’s straightforward and deeply tasty – and perfect for serving to last-minute guests.
Best served with bread of your choice, chips or tortillas. Also works well with crudites – we like cucumber, mixed peppers and carrot.
Most traditional recipes call for a tablespoon or more of olive oil, but we omit it. Feel free to add oil to your own taste. We also go easy on the chili – too much simply overpowers the subtle flavours.
Top tip: If you slice the aubergine (eggplant or brinjal), soak it in heavily salted water for ten to 15 minutes – this makes it a lot less bitter.

Preparation time: 45 mins
Prep: 15 mins
Baking: 30 mins
Serves: 2-4

Tips for Buying Aubergine
Next time you are buying aubergine, follow these guidelines.

Make sure it:

  • Does not have brown spots on the skin or stem.
  • Has a green stem free of mould.
  • Has shiny, smooth skin free of bruises or blemishes.
  • Has resilient skin that bounces back upon gentle pressure.
  • Feels heavy for its size.

Ingredients

  • 3 aubergines
  • 1/3 cup tahini paste
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2-1/4 teaspoon pepper depending on taste
  • 1-3 green chilli peppers (depending on taste)
  • Garnishes, as desired - walnuts, pomegranate seeds, olive oil, paprika, parsley, finely chopped onion, etc

Procedure

  • 1. Preheat oven to 200C/ 400F.
  • 2. Place uncut aubergine on a lightly greased baking tray,, or cover your baking tray with baking paper.
  • 3. Roast the aubergine for 30 minutes, or until it is tender. Once roasted, remove from oven and allow to cool.
  • 4. Once cooled, peel the skins. While they should come off fairly easily, If you are struggling, simply scoop out the flesh with a spoon. Then set the skinned aubergine aside.
  • 5. In a food processor, blend the tahini, garlic, and chilli. Add a splash of olive if desired.
  • 6. Add the aubergine and blend well.
  • 7. Place in a serving bowl, stir in lemon juice and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • 8. Add garnishes - a drizzle of olive oil, paprika, walnuts and pomegranate seeds all work well
  • 9.. Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to three days – if you can resist it.


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