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June 14, 2007 5:58 PM   Subscribe

Fantastic baba ganoush and hummus recipes?

What are your favorite recipes for baba ganoush and hummus?

I recently purchased a food processor and have attempted random internet recipes for the two. However, the baba ganoush turned out too overwhelmingly eggplanty; which, I know, is the point but I've had baba ganoush in which the eggplant was counteracted by other ingredients and was much more subtle and enjoyable. The hummus I made was delicious but could have been better.

How can I make these more delicious? More creamy? Better in general? With a special touch?
posted by mustcatchmooseandsquirrel to Food & Drink (19 answers total) 53 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I found one secret: avoid using low-oil American tahini (the stuff that's like solid paste.) Instead buy tahini at a mideast or Greek grocery. The real stuff pours like syrup, and carries far more flavor. Hint: if you like overkill garlic, then mix the crushed garlic clove into the tahini rather than into the finished product. The sesami oil will let *all* the garlic flavor out. Oh god it BURNS!

Another secret: after broiling the eggplants black, scrape out the meat onto the blackened pan crust, and onto the charred skins. Let it sit that way for 20min or longer, and all the carbony goodness dissolves, turning golden brown. Then peel off the eggplant meat, pick out the black flecks if desired, and proceed as usual. This gives complex overtones, rather than tasting like eggplant meat and tahini.

To avoid that "peanut butter" consistency, I like to cut the eggplant meat crosswise with a sharp knife while scraping it off the skins, then just stir it into tahini with a fork. Perhaps mash the largest lumps. This makes the baba crunch and fruity.

Actual recipe: 1/4 cup tahini and one garlic clove for each largish eggplant, thinned with juice from half a large lemon.

Once I tried making and freezing a big batch, then comparing it against fresh-made. The previously frozen stuff was different, and I think not as good. (Sometimes freezing will improve a food, but not this time.)
posted by billb at 6:16 PM on June 14, 2007

Best answer: With hummus I like to make one taste a bit more dominant than the rest. A perfectly balanced hummus is a thing of beauty but also a bit (IMO) boring. So a garlic-heavy hummus. Or a tart lemony hummus. Or throw in some chili. Or have parsley or cilantro dominate. Black olives. The salting and peppering (if you do that) are also very important.

Baba ganoush I've no idea but I'm interested to hear more!
posted by unSane at 6:20 PM on June 14, 2007

Also creamy hummus = more blending + more oil/tahini
posted by unSane at 6:21 PM on June 14, 2007

Use some Israeli citrus vinegar with the eggplant
posted by growabrain at 6:46 PM on June 14, 2007

Best answer: from A New Way to Cook - Sally Schneider:

1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
3 cups cooked chickpeas, drained or 2 1/2 cups canned chickpeas (garbanzos), rinsed well and drained
3 tablespoons tahini
3 to 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
2 teaspoons kosher salt
Pinch of cayenne pepper
About 1/2 cup of reserved bean cooking liquid or water
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (coriander)
1/2 teaspoon slivered lemon zest

In a small skillet, toast the cumin and coriander seeds over low heat until fragrant. Crush coarsely in a mortar with a pestle or spice grinder. Add the sesame seeds to the skillet and toast, shaking the pan frequently so they don't burn. When they are golden, crush them in the mortar or coarsely grind them in the spice grinder [we usually do a few extra sesame seeds and keep them whole for garnish]. Set aside.

Transfer the drained chickpeas to a food processor. In a small bowl, whisk together the tahini, lemon juice, garlic, 1 1/2 teaspoons of the salt, the cayenne, the reserved spice mixture, and 2 tablespoons of the reserved cooking liquid. Add the tahini mixture a tablespoon at a time to the chickpeas, processing until you have a medium-coarse puree. [For a coarser texture, pulse to a coarse mash, or pound in a large mortar - the traditional method.] Stir in enough of the reserved cooking liquid to make a soft, fluffy mixture with the consistency of mashed potatoes. Add the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt, adjust the seasoning, and transfer the hummus to a serving bowl. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with the chopped cilantro [we like to mix about half into the hummus and garnish with the remainder] and lemon zest, and serve.

We eat it with lashings of olive oil, a bit of green salad and toasted pitta bread, although any kind of flatbread would work fine.

It'll keep for about 3 days in the refrigerator (if you can make it last that long).
posted by dogsbody at 6:53 PM on June 14, 2007 [4 favorites]

I add finely chopped walnuts in the eggplant salad.

You may also want to add a little bit of mayonnaise (a teaspoon to a tablespoon per one large eggplant).
posted by carmina at 6:55 PM on June 14, 2007

Best answer: This is my hummus recipe, invented mostly by me, with much, much experimentation.

Here is the secret. Peel the garbanzo beans. You know that clearish little skin? That's why your hummus is grainy.

Peeling the garbanzo beans is a giant, giant, giant pain in the ass. But the end result is so much more worth it.

So. Two big size cans of garbanzo beans, peeled. Meticulously. No peels, please.

Roast two heads of garlic.

1/4 of good, slimy, oily tahini.

The juice of 2 lemons

Reserved liquid from the garbanzo beans, maybe a cup? A lot of this is eyeballed.

GOOD Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

3 cloves of raw garlic

I also like to roast a couple of jalapenos over an open flame, and peel them under running water. Then I chop them up, seeds and all, and grind those bitches in too.

Here is a tip. Go easy on the liquid, and add it as you process. Liquidy hummus is repulsive.

Combine all these things in a food processor, add salt while you process (more than you think you're going to need by the way, but you know, taste as you go).

I really just eyeball hummus, but I have decided after making a roasted garlic batch, a raw garlic batch, and a jalapeno batch, that the true apotheosis of hummus would be a combination of all three. It sounds gross, I know, with the jalapeno, but dude. So, so good. I'm making more of it tonight, actually. I am telling you, it is going to be so much better than you think. Please realize that the tahini is CRUCIAL. You have to have that lovely nutty taste to it, and every American hummus I've ever had always really pusses out on the tahini.

Baba ganouj, though, I have no idea.
posted by mckenney at 7:02 PM on June 14, 2007 [2 favorites]

Also, I want to add that in Saudi Arabia, hummus was never so grainy like it is in the States. My holy grail is the hummus at the 3rd St. snack bar in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, which was silky, sesame-ey, and drizzled with olive oil and had a little green pit-in olive resting on the top.

I am going crazy with my garlic and jalapenos, but if you peel your chickpeas, you will get that consistency. The jalapenos and garlic will compromise said consistency, but it still won't be grainy like it would be if you don't peel the chickpeas.
posted by mckenney at 7:05 PM on June 14, 2007

oh my god, I know, I'm crazy, but sorry, that was 1/4 c. of tahini. This recipe makes a shit ton of hummus. Divide at will.
posted by mckenney at 7:07 PM on June 14, 2007

See also.
posted by jewishbuddha at 7:10 PM on June 14, 2007

The best Babaganoush I've had was made by a friend who had lived in Turkey. She didn't use a food processor. She waved the eggplant over an open flame until the skin blistered. She threw the skin away and charred the rest of the eggplant over a burner, scrapping off eggplant as it was cooked.

Get some dried sumac or zaytar for seasoning.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 7:30 PM on June 14, 2007

Best answer: {First post, yippee!} I find that a handful of chopped parsley does wonders- helps the digestion/breath as well.

If you like garlic, see if you can find Italian/Russian Red garlic. The Chinese stuff lacks punch.
posted by solongxenon at 8:22 PM on June 14, 2007

secret ingredient for otherwise standard hummus - roasted red pepper. Just enough to make it pink.
posted by IndigoJones at 5:47 AM on June 15, 2007

Second the middle eastern store, runny, variety of tahini, NOT the pasty thick health food store type.

Ziyad brand is my favorite, and it's pretty inexpensive.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 7:40 AM on June 15, 2007

The best hummus I've ever tasted is a chunky variety made by Sabra (warning: unwanted music alert).
posted by Taken Outtacontext at 10:43 AM on June 15, 2007

She threw the skin away and charred the rest of the eggplant over a burner, scrapping off eggplant as it was cooked. COOL! I always wondered how the professionals achieved that flavor. I have an electric stove, so my trick of "wet eggplant plastered over broiler-charred juice" is probably as traditional as I can approach.
posted by billb at 2:29 PM on June 15, 2007

Best answer: I can't believe all these recipes have you throw the tahini in with everything else. IMO, one of the keys to good hummus is to first mix the tahini with the lemon juice until it "binds". There's a kind of reaction that makes these two liquidy things get stiff when mixed well together, if you do this first and then add water to loosen it your hummus will have a much smoother texture and a sesame flavor that is never chalky or bitter.
posted by cali at 12:04 PM on June 16, 2007

Best answer: Dropping in late to add:

Like mckenney, I have made mindblowing creamy smooth hummus with hulled garbanzos. It's tedious and absurd, but the resulting dish is glorious.

I don't bother with that most of the time.

One thing I consider crucial: drain the beans when they're hot. If they cool in the cooking liquid, the resulting hummus tends to be watery. At worst, it can be a pasty clump sitting in a pool of watery bean juice.

I blanch the garlic for just a minute in the cooking water. It soothes the fiery raw burn of garlic without taming it completely. I also add just a sprinkle of lemon zest along with the juice for a slightly deeper, richer lemon flavor.

To my mind, both hummus and baba ghanoush should be served at room temp or warmer. Straight from the fridge, they are bland and pasty.
posted by Elsa at 4:02 PM on June 18, 2007

Response by poster: I made hummus again yesterday - I mixed the tahini and lemon juice first and we peeled all of the garbanzo beans and used both roasted and raw garlic. Now, my life is forever altered - I will have to drop out of school and society in order to peel garbanzo beans full time; non-peeled garbanzo beans will never again be good enough for my hummus.
posted by mustcatchmooseandsquirrel at 5:29 PM on June 20, 2007

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