International Cuisine, Party ideas

Baba Ghanoush, and kick starting the International Blogging Marathon

We begin
our journey into the International Blogging Marathon – a brain child of
Valli, and the preparation for this has been going on since so many months.
Like the Indian Blogging Marathon where we covered Indian states, this month
will see us savour dishes from across the world in an alphabetical order.
What’s interesting is more than 25 bloggers are participating in this from
across the world, and the countless chit chat we have had is not funny.
Bordering from humour to early leaders who had their lists and cooking done
even before some of us were hearing about the country for the first time, it
all comes down to comfort homemade food, cooked with love and enjoyed by the
family 🙂

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One
particular Googly thrown at me by the husband was no Maida (APF) and no refined
sugars and very low fat to be used during this entire Blogging Marathon.. Rather than a hurdle,
I took up the challenge, faltered a bit (read a lot), altered my recipe list a
hundred times, and then ended with dishes that was welcomed by all in the
family.

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So stay
tuned as we take you across the world through different countries
alphabetically all this September. Words fail me when I thank Valli and
the entire team of gals for their constant support and motivation (sometimes
into the wee hours of the night , whatsapping endlessly). 

Loads of bookmarks
and world cuisine books were consulted, and reconsidered again and again, till
we started cooking something doable and tasty and healthy for the family. Not
to mention the loads of information that google and wiki provided and sifted
through them to present little tidbits for you along with the food made for
that country.

Hope you
enjoy this joy ride with me …

When I
had to choose for Alphabet A for today, I hopped between Austria and Armenia
and Algeria many many times before settling on Armenia. Top 5
things about Armenia that I learnt —

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Flag of Armenia (Wiki)
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The Etchmiadzin Cathedral
  • Armenian
    cuisine is as ancient as
    the history of Armenia, a combination of different tastes and aromas. The
    food often has quite a distinct smell. Closely related to eastern
    and 
    Mediterranean cuisine, various spicesvegetables,fish,
    and 
    fruits combine to present unique dishes. 

  • The
    main characteristics of Armenian cuisine are a reliance on the quality of
    the ingredients rather than heavily spicing food, the use of herbs, the
    use of wheat in a variety of forms, of legumes, nuts, and fruit (as a main
    ingredient as well aa to sour food), and the stuffing of a wide variety of
    leaves.

                                            (Source:Wiki
and The Lonely Planet)

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Location Map of Armenia – Courtesy CIA 

Baba Ghanoush (aka Baba Ganoush), like so many
other middle eastern – Eastern Europe recipes, belongs to Armenia amongst so
many other countries due to its geographical location, its cuisine is
influenced by neighbouring Persia, Turkey and Iran. Its a versatile dip made
with roasted garlic and eggplants and goes great with Pita crusts or veg
crudites alike. Great dip to make-ahead for parties too. 

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So, at the end of a longish
post, lets get to the recipe :

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Country – Armenia

Dish – Baba Ghanoush | Recipe type – Dips, served
warm or cold

Spice level – Medium  | Difficulty level – Easy

Recipe adapted from Here

Prep : 20- 25 mins | Cook time : 10 mins | Serves :
4

Serving Suggestions : Pita breads, crackers, Veg Crudites, and also as a side dish for
flat breads / yeasted breads ( I served it with Tacos)

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Ingredients:

  • 6-8 pods garlic
  • 1 medium sized eggplant
  • Red Onions – 1
  • Raw Tomato – 1 (Ioptional –
    but I added it)
  • Coriander chopped – ¼ cup
  • Tabasco Sauce – ½ tsp (I
    used really spicy version)
  • Basil leaves (fresh or
    dried) – ½ tsp
  • Olive oil – 1 TBSP
  • Tahini (or sesame paste) –
    ½ TBSP ** (See Notes for a quick version) – optional
  • Salt  &
    pepper – to taste

Method:

  1. In a lined baking tray,
    lightly grease the tomatoes and wrap the peeled garlic pods in double foil.
    Bake at 180-190 C for 14-15 mins till tomato is roasted and garlic shrivels and
    darkens a bit (To speed up the process, I heated a large iron wok instead and
    seared the garlic till they were roasted, and charred the tomatoes a bit)
  2. On a medium gas flame, turn
    the oiled eggplant several times (with a fork / knife inserted at the crown)
    and keep turning till the eggplant is roasted evenly on all sides (this will
    take about 9-10 mins) – I roasted the eggplants a tad longer coz S likes it that way so you see a darker version of this dip
  3. Cool both garlic, tomatoes
    and eggplant. Peel off skin of eggplant and lightly mash it with a fork. Chop
    up the roasted garlic and tomatoes (into smaller chunks)
  4. In a large bowl, add this
    mashed up eggplant, diced garlic,basil, tomatoes, coriander (or parsley),
    Chopped onions, salt, pepper and the rest of the ingredients. Mix well.
  5. It can be lumpy or smooth
    as you like it.
  6. Serve with canapés /
    crackers or anything else you might fancy. It keeps for upto 4 – 6 days under
    refrigeration, so you might enjoy it as a sandwich spread the next day
    too 🙂


** Notes:

For a quick Tahini paste, blitz roasted sesame seeds with olive oil, a sprig of basil and thyme and some salt / pepper. I used black sesame seeds for this paste

Also linking to Beulah’s Eggplant event, hosted for Nayna.

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An InLinkz Link-up

18 Comments

  1. Varada's Kitchen

    A great start to the mega marathon. I am not a fan of eggplant but your dip looks great. Waiting to see what else you have lined up this month.

  2. Nice one Kalyani and so happy that you could do this marathon :).And using this as a spread sounds delicious …

  3. Chef Mireille

    this is a very popular food here in NY usually served as a dip alongside hummus with pita chips or crackers. your version looks fab!

  4. Suma Gandlur

    Not sure whether the earlier comment went through. That's a lovely dip. Looking forward to your healthy creations.

  5. vaishali sabnani

    I am a big fan of the Middle East dips and spreads. .just that eggplants and I don't gel.
    I am glad that you could finally make it for the mega event

  6. So wonderful to read up on the country..great job there..and the dip sounds so good, this was on my list, though for another country..sounds so good..and looking fwd to the challenges you have taken up on yourself!

  7. Priya Suresh

    Delicious, baba ghanoush is one among my favourite dip i can have with anything, my mouth is watering.

  8. cookingwithsapana

    Baba ganoush looks tempting. Nice way to start the run…

  9. MySpicyKitchen

    Nice intro and a wonderful dip to kick start the bm.

  10. Yes even I changed my list so many times first wanted to make Armenian Pilaf then changed to some other country finely settled with Algeria this one is my only choice when ever i go out in NAfrican countries looks so yumm.

  11. Awesome, Kalyani. Lovely write up. Looking forward to all the healthy recipes..

  12. Like Harini says awesome. I loved the history write up. Love the different way of making egg plant. Looking forward to your recipes.

  13. Baba ghanoush is such a universal dish. I've a variation coming later in the month 🙂 Love your version with onion & tomato. Will give this a try next time.

  14. wow kalyani thats a finger licking dip 🙂 looks so tempting I just want to lick it all now .. lovely write up dear 🙂 I don't even have a list till now 😛

  15. Delicious dish! And what a lovely write up! Thanks for linking it to the event

  16. Priya Srinivasan - I Camp in My Kitchen

    Oh yum, we love eggplants a lot and this dip was in my to-do list for a long time now. i might as well love it with our south-indian breakfast also!! 🙂

  17. Gayathri Kumar

    Nice beginning to the mega marathon. I have always wanted to try this dip but somehow couldn't make it. It looks so yumm…

  18. Dip looks great.. I planned on making it first then changed it to different recipe later.

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