Sunday, June 12, 2011

Hummus and Baba Ghannouj

Baba Ghannouj (left) and Hummus (right)

The hot summer weather is here and at times like this I just want to eat light cool foods.  My favorite cuisine for hot weather is middle eastern food, and in the summer, I always have plenty of homemade hummus and baba ghannouj in the refrigerator.

Making your own hummus and baba ghannouj is super easy and really quick.  If you can boil water and run a food processor, you can make these dishes.  The best thing about making your own hummus and baba ghannouj is that they are incredibly inexpensive and it makes a ton!  Plus no food preservatives!

I usually make baba ghannouj (egg plant dip)  when I make hummus and then serve with warm pitas and lots of fresh vegetables.  This is the perfect thing to eat on a swelteringly hot humid summer day.  Its cool and loaded with tons of intricate nuanced flavors. 

Amazingly, there are only 6 ingredients in both hummus and baba ghannouj!  DELISH!

makes about 6 cups

1 lb dried chick peas
3 large cloves garlic
2 Tbsp salt
5 cups water
1/4 cup Tahini
juice of 1 lemon

In a large pan combine chickpeas, garlic, salt and water.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook until chickpeas are tender (about 1 hour - 1 1/2 hours).  Allow to cool to room temperature.

With a slotted spoon transfer chickpeas and garlic to the bowl of a food processor fitted with the chopping blade.  Add about 2 1/2 cups of the cooking water and process until smooth (if still to thick add more cooking water and process to desired consistency.  Add tahini and lemon juice and process until well incorporated.  Season with additional salt if needed.  Keep refrigerated.

Variations:  Once the hummus is made, you can add anything you'd like to it and process in the food processor.  Things like roasted red peppers, pickled artichokes, green onion, spinach, red pepper flakes etc. are all excellent!

Baba Ghannouj
makes about 2 cups

1 large eggplant
1 large clove garlic
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 Tbsp Tahini
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
salt to taste

Preheat oven to 350F.  Pierce the eggplant several times with a sharp knife to make steam vents (you don't want to spend the rest of the day cleaning exploded eggplant out of your oven do you?).  Wrap the eggplant completely in aluminum foil and bake for 1 hour.
Stabbing the eggplant before roasting...

...and after roasting!

Remove eggplant from oven and allow to cool to room temperature.  Unwrap eggplant and cut in half lengthwise.  Carefully peel off the skin.  Place eggplant into bowl of food processor and combine with remaining ingredients. Process until smooth.  Keep refrigerated.

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