My parents came down for a visit to see my play “To Carry The Child” and in addition to bringing cookies that my dad made and baklava that my mom made, my mom also brought ingredients to make a hummus/babaganoush dip-or as she says: Babahummus or is it Hummusganoush? I know I talk a lot about my father’s recipes, but my mother is also an amazing cook and her favorite dishes tend to have a more international flare. She spent her junior year of high school in Brussels, two years in the Peace Corps in West Africa after college, and also was a private chef for a family in Berkeley, CA. And before we moved to California, she was a stay at home mom who cooked all our meals and even made pasta from scratch. (One of my favorite memories is walking under pasta drying on broomsticks spanning from the kitchen table to the counter top!) Since my mom did the cooking I asked her to write the post and to be my first guest chef. So from my mom to your table, enjoy!
BABAHUMMUS/HUMMUSGANOUSH DIP (as written by Helen Bauer)
- 1 Large Eggplant
- 2 Cans Garbanzo Beans
- 4-6 Cloves of Garlic
- 1 Tsp of Salt
- 1/2 Tsp of Pepper
- 1 Tsp Ground Cumin, Chili Powder or Fresh Jalapeno
- 2 to 4 Tbsp Tahini
- 1/4 Cup Good Quality Olive Oil, plus some for topping
- Juice of 1 Lemon
- Paprika or Chili Powder for topping
I developed this combined dip for two reasons. First my kids, and some adults, turn up their noses at eggplant. Second, I am a lazy cook…or as I see it, an efficient cook. When I made this in Sarah’s apartment from beginning to end (including washing up the dishes and the stove top), I was done in 40 minutes. I have always made hummus slightly chunky as this is how the Lebanese women taught me when I lived in Senegal, West Africa.
- Put a large eggplant on your gas burner or on the gas/charcoal grill, or even in the oven. And YES, it will leak juices…especially if you prick it with a fork ahead of time to prevent weird explosions. When is it done? The skin will be charred and a long fork pierces the globe easily through the thickest end. Remove and set aside-cover with a piece of tin foil to help finish cooking and to aid in easy removal of the skin. I will often cook two and put one in a zip lock bag in the fridge for the next day or two.
- In the blender put your cloves of peeled garlic, salt, pepper, ground cumin, chili flakes or fresh jalapeno to taste, the juice of one lemon, 2 to 4 tablespoons of tahini, and a 1/4 cup of good quality olive oil. Whirl.
- Open and RINSE well two cans of garbanzo beans. Add one to blender and blend until smooth. Add the second can and pulse until your favored consistency.
- In the meantime, cut off the stem end of the eggplant and peel. Some are filled with seeds and others are not. Sometimes you can strip out the long threads of seeds all at once. The seeds can make the mixture bitter. But if mostly seeds then you’ll have no eggplant left, so use your discretion.
- Add eggplant to blender and pulse until you have your desired consistency.
- Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.
- Pour into a serving bowl and smooth the top. Sprinkle some paprika or chili powder for some color and press a beautiful flat leaf parsley leaf in the center. And in true middle eastern style, pour a thin layer of your favorite olive oil on top, about 1/8″ deep.
- Store any extra in the freezer. Otherwise, enjoy fresh!