I have been neglecting the blog recently. Too many things happening and too many deadlines but today I decided to prepare for you one of my favourite dips, the Iranian answer to baba ghannuge where grilled aubergines are mixed with caramelised onions and garlic and instead of tahini, kashk or dried buttermilk that provides both creaminess and tartness. A very interesting ingredients which you can buy in Persian shops either dried or already reconstituted in jars. I used the latter. And instead of drizzling the dip with olive oil, Persians use the much more luxurious saffron water as garnish together with a little of the caramelised onions and chopped walnuts which you can toast lightly to enhance their flavour.
Yesterday I posted a recipe for a beetroot dip but it wasn’t the only one I had made for today’s lunch. I often make three, each with a different texture and colour and, of course, a different flavour. My favourite in the trio is baba ghannuge, where the secret is to get the aubergines as close to the grill as you can so that the skins burn a little and you get the smoky flavour that is so typical of this dip. Also, once you have peeled off the charred skin, you need to let the flesh drain for about half an hour to get rid of the excess liquid — you would be surprised at how much liquid drains out. Oh, and never use a blender with aubergines otherwise your dip will have no texture. It needs to be chunky even if it is very soft. I used to mash the aubergines with a fork but I now use a potato masher (much quicker) but I make sure not to pulverize the flesh too much.