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Baba Ghanouj with Minced Lamb and Pine Nuts

Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Lebanese

Ingredients

To make Baba ghanouj:

  • 2 large eggplant/aubergine/brinjal purple variety
  • 1 big lemon
  • ¼ cup tahini sesame seed paste
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • Salt to season
  • 1-2 tbsp natural yoghurt
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

To make the minced lamb topping:

  • 500 gms of minced lamb
  • 2 medium onions finely chopped
  • 1 hot red chilli finely chopped
  • 2 large tomatoes finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp chilli paste/sauce
  • Salt to season
  • Freshly milled black pepper to season
  • 2 tbsp ghee/clarified butter
  • 2-3 tbsp pine nuts toasted

Instructions

To make the Baba ghanouj:

  • Grill the eggplant till the outsides are really charred and the flesh inside has become soft. (I do it on the stove top but you can use an oven or a charcoal fire). Cover with a cloth and keep aside for 2 minutes.
  • Peel the skin off while still warm; cut and chop the flesh roughly.
  • Place in a mortar and pestle, food processor or grinder and add garlic, tahini, yoghurt and half of the lemon juice. Blend for a minute or two.
  • Season with salt and check the taste. Add more tahini or lemon juice if necessary.
  • Transfer to a large serving plate and drizzle the olive oil on top. If you prefer a creamier consistency, add the olive oil and blend again.

To make the minced lamb topping:

  • In a large pan, heat ghee and add the minced lamb; fry for a couple of minutes till it has browned lightly.
  • Add the diced onions, followed by the rest of the ingredients except pine nuts. Fry till the tomatoes have broken down and the moisture absorbed.
  • Toast the pine nuts taking care not to burn.
  • Cool slightly and spoon over the baba ghanouj.
  • Garnish with the toasted pine nuts.
  • Though a tabbouleh would have been a good accompaniment to the meal, I made an avocado salsa along with Lebanese pita breads to complete the meal.