Combining my two favourite Middle Eastern foods - hummus and moutabal - resulted in this extremely delicious appetizer. I figured since I use almost the same ingredients in both of them I might as well make a 2-in-1 dish and save myself some time. Half way between a spread and a dip, the eggplant hummus is wonderfully creamy with a rich, smoky flavour. I mostly enjoy it with freshly baked, crusty bread, but also like it plain or with crunchy carrot and celery sticks.
The only time-consuming part in making this hummus is the eggplant preparation, but once that's out of the way it only takes a little blending before you can dig in. The recipe makes enough to please a large family or to serve at a gathering. Alternatively, you can store any leftover hummus in an airtight container.
- 4 medium eggplants
- 1 can (400 g - about 1 1/2 cups) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup tahini
- 1 1/2 - 2 tsp salt (I use sea salt or Himalayan)
- 4 Tb freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp cumin powder
- pinch of cayenne pepper
Cook the eggplants over an open flame, on a gas or charcoal grill, in the oven or on the hob, whichever way is easier for you. I just place a griddle on the stove top over medium-high heat and cook them until the skin has charred, to keep the flesh white-brown. When done, place the eggplants standing uncovered in a pan. After 20-30 minutes when they're easy to handle, peel the skin off and remove the stems, then place them in a colander until completely cool, turning them around from time to time to help drain the liquid.
Put all the ingredients in a blender, minus the eggplant and spices, and blend until smooth.
Add the eggplant and spices and blend again until well combined and smooth. Scrape down the sides with a spatula if needed. Of course, you can play around with the spices to suit your taste. In my case, I wanted a clear taste of smoky eggplant with the acidity of lemon juice and just a touch of aromatics.
Serve sprinkled with cayenne pepper and sumac (optional, but it does add a sharp, lemony flavour) and drizzled with olive oil, with crusty bread, pita or tortilla chips. For extra crunch, mix in or decorate with chickpeas.
Enjoy and spread the magic!:)