New Food Friday – Baba Ghanouj (Baba Ghanoush)

9 Nov

Baba Ghanouj (prounounced Baba Ghanoosh) is the food I’m discussing today for New Food Friday. Does it sound familiar to you? I think I may have heard it first on the Jerry Seinfeld sitcom.

I picked up a can when I bought the can of ZiYad Hummus and Tahini dip. They were both the same price, on sale for $2.29 each.

Ziyad makes this Baba Ghanouj which is an eggplant and Tahini dip. They fire roast the eggplant and add the following ingredients: tahini, salt, citric acid.

Preparation suggestion on the can: add lemon juice, garlic, and salt to taste. Drizzle olive oil on top.

Click me to enlarge

Nutritional Facts:

The sodium level is high: 478mg so if you are watching your salt intake, you may only be able to have a small amount. I think we should all watch our salt intake so I may make my own version fresh in the future.

The Taste

The taste of this Baba Ghanouj is very smokey. It’s like eating charred wood but a creamy version of charred wood. So, they’re not kidding when they say they fire roast the eggplant! I liked it. There are chunks of eggplant in the dip which I enjoyed too.  I did not add any lemon juice or garlic or salt because I didn’t think it needed anything.You can see from the front cover of the can that the product is tan in color. The yellow part is olive oil. The red sprinkles in the center and around the dish are pomegranate seeds.

The Accompaniments

Baba Ghanouj is most often eaten with pita bread. It can also be eaten as a dip with raw vegetables. This could pair well with certain flavors of Triscuits which come in many varieties now, Rosemary and olive oil being my favorite. I like Baba Ghanouj with pretzels, the larger pretzels with less salt. This would also be a good spread on a wrap. I tried it on a bun with a turkey burger but instead of a barbeque taste, it brought out a more lemony flavor which I did not care for. That surprised me. In fact, the way I liked it best was without any accompaniment.

Here is a nice sized eggplant growing on a vine. Isn’t it a beauty?

 This is what sesame seeds look like (below) in case you’ve never seen them. The photo shows them enlarged. They are much smaller in reality. There are also black sesame seeds. Tahini can be made from either the white sesame or the black sesame seed. This Baba Ghanouj uses the white sesame seeds. The seeds are crushed to make a paste.  You can find the seeds on the spice aisle of your grocery store. If you want the paste (the tahini), look in the ethnic aisle. It usually comes in a jar and is not cheap!

On the other hand, this canned version of Baba Ghanouj is very convenient to carry with you say, to a picnic because it has a pop-top and can be eaten cold or at room temperature. Once opened though any leftovers should be refrigerated. Another benefit of the canned version is that it can be easily stored on your pantry shelf to be used at a moment’s notice. So, it’s good in a pinch!

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15 Responses to “New Food Friday – Baba Ghanouj (Baba Ghanoush)”

  1. SR Dryja November 13, 2012 at 11:58 pm #

    I loved your reference to Seinfeld because, whenever I hear the words “baba ganouj”, I think of Seinfeld, although I can’t remember which episode. I’ve never had canned baba ganouj before. I didn’t know it existed! I will have to try it!

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    • Marcella Rousseau November 14, 2012 at 6:06 pm #

      LOL! I tried to find which episode by googling it but after spending about 1/2 hour looking and not finding it, I gave up. I wanted to put that in my post. Seinfeld also had a Baba cake in one of his episodes. Do you remember that one? The last Baba was sold before Elaine could buy it. What an insane show. They’re all bananas ; – )

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      • SR Dryja November 14, 2012 at 9:34 pm #

        I loved that show and can’t believe how often I still quote it. Too funny! :)

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  2. nature789 November 13, 2012 at 8:07 am #

    Very interesting, I’ve not heard of it before. Thanks for introducing it :)

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  3. chrissyg22 November 9, 2012 at 10:30 pm #

    Sounds Delish! I cant wait to try. Thanks again!

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    • Marcella Rousseau November 10, 2012 at 3:58 pm #

      I hope you like it. I liked the chunks of eggplant in it. It was definitely different than anything I’ve ever tasted before.

      Like

  4. Staci Troilo November 9, 2012 at 2:59 pm #

    Eggplant is one of my favorite vegetables, and I love baba ghanouj. I’ve never had the canned version (I’m having trouble imagining that it’s nearly as good as fresh), but I highly recommend the dip. It’s great with any cracker/pita/chip type item, and it’s good with veggies, too. Even though I’m Italian, I’m a huge fan of Middle Eastern cuisine. We share a similar spice palate, use similar main ingredients, and even have similar preparation methods. This isn’t the way Italians traditionally prepare eggplant, but it is a tasty one.

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    • Marcella Rousseau November 9, 2012 at 3:41 pm #

      It takes a lot of time and effort to prepare the fresh version. Busy people might not want to go through all that. But I wouldn’t count it out entirely. Fresh is always better to my mind. The canned version gives you an idea of what it tastes like and then you can decide if you want to go the full nine yards. New Food Friday is to introduce foods to readers who may not have tried a dish before. I don’t share your thought that Italians and Middle Easterners share the same spice palate though. Cumin, turmeric, cardamon, sumac, or curry are not commonly used in Italian cooking but are often used in Middle Eastern cooking. Their dishes tend to be much more spicy than Italian dishes for the most part.

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      • Staci Troilo November 9, 2012 at 4:04 pm #

        I’m thinking more the oregano, mint and crushed red pepper. Perhaps it’s more like a Venn diagram of overlap…

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  5. camparigirl November 9, 2012 at 1:47 pm #

    Eggplant is one of my favourite vegetables ever. If you are worried about the salt intake, you can easily make your own baba ganoush. The harderst part is being patient while the eggplant roasts in the oven! Then you mash it with salt, pepper, roasted or fresh garlic and olive oil. That’s it. Hummus is super easy to do but let’s leave that for another time. It’s true that a jar of tahini paste is not cheap (it runs at around 5 or 6$) but you need only a bit for the hummus, and it lasts for a long time. The more to entice you making hummus over and over. I love how you break down all the nutritional facts.

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    • Marcella Rousseau November 9, 2012 at 2:11 pm #

      I love eggplant too! I’ve got a stuffed eggplant recipe that is divine! I might try roasting an eggplant if I have something else in the oven too, otherwise my oven uses too much electricity to do a good job roasting the eggplant and my bill will be too high! So, it will be a matter of remembering to combine two dishes at a time. I don’t know how likely that will be, but you never know! : – ) Then the cost of the tahini. I don’t think I would use it much and it would probably go bad before I could use it all. The dish doesn’t justify the costs for me. So the canned version would be the more frugal way to go. Maybe the next time I make an eggplant dish I will pick up the canned Baba and add some of my cooked eggplant to it. That would stretch out the Baba and lower the sodium. I could live with that! ; – ) Also, I’ve been eating it cold. Can you eat it hot? I have a little left; I’m going to try it hot. I think the nutritional facts are the most important, other than taste. It’s important for me to emphasize that because of my theme here (for your good health) and I want to get people to be in the habit of reading the nutrition label on foods. I see very few people in the supermarkets reading labels. If we don’t pay attention to what is in our foods, our health will suffer and it will ultimately put more burden on the health care system. America should be the most fit society, not the most obese society. We need to get our diabetes and heart disease under control. Reading labels can help. I can’t emphasize that enough.

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      • camparigirl November 9, 2012 at 2:16 pm #

        I am actually horrified that the proposition on the ballot in California that demanded for genetically modified ingredients to be stated on the label did not pass. Is stupidity so prevalent? It would have changed the labelling system nationwide but big food companies poured millions in ads stating that our grocery bills would be higher if the proposition passed. Unfortunately too many people stop at the “natural” or “low fat” claims on the front of the boxes and pay little attention to sugar or sodium. Rant over. I think the baba ganoush would be fine lukewarm but not very hot. I think too much heat would blunt the taste.

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        • Marcella Rousseau November 9, 2012 at 3:21 pm #

          I feel your pain. Food prices are going up anyway thanks to the drought across the country. What’s a few more cents for better labeling? How can we be sure that elections aren’t fixed? Look at the billboards that were put up with intimidating messages targeting minorities. Then there was also a report that someone tried to vote democrat but the machine kept showing a republican vote. The public learned about this because the voter took his iphone into the booth and recorded it all! (I wondered if that in itself was legal!) So, how many times might that have happened? Who knows! And who knows what else went on. Listen, you wouldn’t be Italian if you didn’t rant about politics. That’s one thing I learned when I visited my relatives in Italy! I just love it! The rest of the world was just as wrapped up in our election as their own. But are we involved with any of THEIR elections? Hardly! We’re lucky if we even know who is in office in our own country! (Thanks, Jay Leno!) I did warm up the Baba. I gotta say, nothing would blunt the smokey taste of this dish! It is very smokey. I liked it very warm. That makes it versatile: cold for summer months; warm for winter months. The smokey taste lasts in your mouth quite a while. It might be too smokey for some!

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