Aubergines are a tricky vegetable – many people downright hate it, others low key tolerate it and then there are the ones (like moi), who absolutely love it. There are so many varieties to choose from! The tiny speckled ones. The long, elegant, deep purple ones. The large ones. The green ones.
I’m a fan of the large “bharta” baingan variety, primarily because it’s easily available and so versatile. It works well in everything from sambar to crispy fried “begun bhaja” to baba ghanoush.
I’m always looking to the internet for cooking inspiration and ideas, and new ways to cook staple ingredients. I had 3 aubergines getting equal parts bruised and wrinkled in my crisper and I wanted to cook them up before they were
Copper + Cloves is a blog and Instagram handle I ADORE, and Sarah has some really lovely recipes that are simple to make and full of flavour. This smoky aubergine dip is one of them. And it’s not your mama’s bharta!
You take the aubergines and roast them over an open fire like you would for bharta, but instead of frying it with onions, chillies and tomatoes, you mash it with herbs and garlic and lemon juice and turn it into a rich, silky dip that tastes great hot and cold! Now I did take some liberties with this and change it around from the original, but it came out really well nonetheless.
The two things I had to forego were pomegranate molasses and pomegranate seeds (for garnish), I simply didn’t have any and didn’t want to substitute with honey, agave or any other sweetener. I’m sure that a hint of sweetness would add another layer of flavour and make this dip hit a home run, but this was really enjoyable as it was.
The other change I made was to puree the entire mixture in the blender – the original recipe directs you to puree half the mixture and leave the other half chunky by mashing it with a wooden spoon. I wanted something homogenous, so put the whole thing through the blender. Do as you please!
I encourage all of you to make this and enjoy it with crackers, sourdough, crudités or plain old roti! It’s quite delicious
SMOKY AUBERGINE DIP (VIA COPPER + CLOVES)
1 large brinjal
1/3 cup tahini
1/3 cup olive oil
The juice of half a lemon
2 garlic cloves Handful of mint leaves, chopped
First, char the aubergine. Place the whole aubergine on a (moderate) open gas flame for 15 minutes, turning it frequently with metal tongs, until the flesh is soft and collapsing and the skin is burnt and blistered.
Let it cool so that excess moisture is removed. Once it’s cool enough to handle, get rid of the burnt skin and discard. Roughly chop.
Take the roughly chopped aubergine, garlic cloves, tahini, lime juice, mint, salt and pepper and put everything in a blender. Blend till smooth.
Place the dip in a bowl and serve!
Since I didn’t have pomegranate seeds, I sprinkled some sesame seeds and sweet paprika over the top for fun