Baba ghanoush

Baba ghanoush

A Year of Practiculture
Rohan Anderson & Kate Berry

Eggplants have always been a bit of a veg favourite, but in this cold climate they’re a real pain to grow. Our summer just isn’t long enough. The plants are just flowering when they should already have been in fruit, so by the time autumn comes there are one or two sad-looking eggplants for us to eat. It’s not smart to have large eggplant bushes taking up space when I could be growing something better suited to our climate. Sucks, right? But then I built a poly tunnel and brought the summer up a peg or two. Now I have a month extra at the end of summer and my eggplants thrive. They just love the heat, warm soil and steamy hot air. I plant out in spring and harvest in summer. It’s made such a difference. Being able to eat fresh, full-bodied eggplants from my own garden is a real treat, and every summer now my poly tunnel is full of these delicious fruits.

I love to grill eggplants on the summer barbecue, but someone told me about this technique of cooking them straight on the gas stove top. I was sceptical at first, but then I ate the baba ghanoush they made and it had a slightly smoky flavour, just like the real deal. Another DIY home-version tick! Obviously you can add different spices and herbs, even use cheeses and different oils. This is simply a basis from which to start.


Quantity Ingredient
4 large eggplants
4 garlic cloves, crushed
handful parsley
1 lemon, juiced
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
90g tahini
2 pinches salt
good-quality extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
sumac, to serve


  1. Wrap the eggplant in aluminium foil and cook directly on the gas stove top. If you don’t have gas, cook them under a hot grill. Turn over with tongs every 5 minutes or so – the idea is for them to cook evenly. You’ll start to feel them get very soft, and at some point they’ll become difficult to pick up with the tongs – that’s usually when they’re ready.
  2. Take the foil off and slide a fork under the skin to start to separate the ‘meat’ from the skin. Discard the skin. (Take note of how good it smells. Reminds me of campfire-cooked potato. Weird?)
  3. Transfer the cooked eggplant to a mixing bowl. Add the garlic, parsley (reserving a little for a garnish), lemon juice, cayenne and tahini. Whizz into a paste using a hand-held blender, and season with salt.
  4. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkle of sumac and a garnish of the reserved parsley.
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