Roasted Eggplant and Yogurt Dip Recipe

When I recovered my kitchen after seven weeks (seven! weeks!) of renovation chaos — and this was just to redo the bathroom, mind you — the very first thing I made was a yogurt cake, to fortify us through our next mission: the meticulous cleaning of, well, the entire contents of our apartment, which we had ill-protected from the dust storm. (Never again will we underestimate plaster and tile.)

And as soon as our home regained a sense of cleanliness and harmony, I was able to pick up my cooking life where I’d left it seven weeks (seven! weeks!) earlier, and — oh, the bliss — return to the Batignolles farmers’ market. “Where have you been all summer?” my produce vendor asked, as I went on a bit of a vegetable shopping spree.

I rode home on a cloud, unloaded my baskets into my squeaky-clean vegetable drawers (I’d also scoured the fridge while I was at it), and started to plot ways to use my loot. Of particular concern to me were the fist-sized eggplants I had fallen for, so shiny you could use them as pocket mirrors (handy when the contractor has yet to afix the mirror above the bathroom sink).

You see, I am hopeless with eggplant. The only way eggplants and I get along is when I reaffirm my authority by roasting the living daylight out of them. I usually go on to make my neighbor Stephan’s eggplant caviar, the recipe for which is featured in my first book, but I was in the mood to try something a little different this time.

Coincidentally, I had just received a review copy of Janna Gur’s Book of New Israeli Food, an enticing book that’s as much about the food as it is about the people and daily life of Israel. And on page 28, the author quotes an Arab adage that made me laugh: “If your future bride can’t prepare eggplant fifty different ways — don’t marry her,” it says.

Janna Gur goes on to give about a dozen, which is a lot more than most cooks have in their repertoire, I daresay, yet still leaves them to do a bit more research if they are to be ready when an Arab prince comes to whisk them away.

Among Gur’s suggestions are eight mini-recipes for dips and salads that involve just a few ingredients, and because I had goat’s milk yogurt in the fridge, the one that tempted me most was the Roasted Eggplant with Yogurt. It went something like this, “add 2 cups yogurt to the flesh of 2 roasted eggplants; add crushed garlic, salt, black pepper, and, optionally, chopped mint and coriander leaves.”

I ended up preparing mine a bit differently — see recipe below — and was delighted with the use of yogurt, which gives the dip a rich, creamy texture, yet keeps it light and tangy. Eggplants are scheduled to stick around for just a little while longer before fall begins in earnest, and this is a fine way to bid them farewell.

Roasted Eggplant and Yogurt Dip Recipe

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 2 hours

Makes about 240 ml (1 cup).

Roasted Eggplant and Yogurt Dip Recipe

Ingredients

  • 850 grams (30 ounces) eggplants, the smaller the better
  • one clove garlic, peeled
  • 120 ml (1/2 cup) goat's milk yogurt (substitute sheep's milk yogurt or plain Greek-style yogurt)
  • ground cumin, to taste (see note)
  • ground chile pepper, to taste
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • a large handful of fresh cilantro leaves (a.k.a. coriander in some parts of the world), finely snipped

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F). Place the eggplants in a single layer in a shallow baking dish (or a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil), and prick them in a few places with a fork. Cut a small slit in the most bulbous part of one eggplant and slip the garlic clove inside. Roast for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until completely soft, turning the eggplants 2 or 3 times during the baking.
  2. Set aside in a colander until cool enough to handle. Transfer each eggplant in turn on a cutting board. Cut a deep slit down the length of the eggplant to open it wide, and scrape the flesh using a wooden spoon. Discard the stem and skin, set the flesh aside (be sure to recover the garlic clove), and repeat with the remaining eggplants.
  3. In the bowl of a food processor or blender (see note), combine the eggplant flesh, garlic, and yogurt, and season with cumin, chile pepper, salt, and black pepper. Process in short pulses until smooth. Fold in the cilantro, taste, and adjust the seasoning.
  4. Cover and refrigerate for a few hours, if possible, to allow the flavors to develop. Serve with pita bread, or, in our case, fresh baguette. This also makes a fine sandwich/tartine spread, or a side to lamb meatballs or grilled fish.

Notes

  • I've deliberately left out the measurements for the spices and seasonings: how much you need depends on how flavorful your eggplants and yogurt are, and on your personal preference. Start small, taste, and work your way up as needed.
  • If you don't own a food processor or a blender, you can mash everything with a fork ; the texture will be chunkier and less dip-able, but it will still be good.

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  • http://beckyandthebeanstock.com/ Becky and the Beanstock

    Seven weeks! I wholly relate to the restorative power of cooking. I’ve been unexpectedly away from home recently, and cooking was the one thing that could restore the rhythm of my life. It was how I knew I was home again.

    Yogurt is such a soothing thing, too — a great choice for a reunion-with-the-kitchen recipe. Since I’ve got vibrant purple eggplants teeming from the garden, I’ll just have to give this one a go.

    Glad you’re back in the kitchen!

  • http://theendivechronicles.com/ Erin

    Mmm, I love eggplant and this sounds highly addictive.

    Congratulations on getting your kitchen back. I was without one for a month while we were moving and can sympathise.

  • http://realgoodtaste.blogspot.com Jen

    50 ways to prepare eggplant! I have been struggling all summer to figure out what to do with it…

  • http://www.chefectomy.blogspot.com chefectomy

    Much too long to be without a kitchen! A lovely dish and the goat’s milk yogurt is a great dimension to this.

    –Marc

  • http://www.eatingthroughsf.blogspot.com Kasey

    Clotilde,

    It’s glorious to see you back in the kitchen! Thank you for sharing this new recipe. I can eat a whole roasted eggplant in one sitting and I’m excited to have a new way of incorporating it into my menu book.

    Kasey

  • Dawn in CA

    One of my favorite restaurant dishes is Thai green curry with eggplant. I’m bound and determined to recreate it at home! Your post has inspired me to give it a go.

  • http://www.helengraves.co.uk Helen

    fifty different ways?! blimey! She would be a better woman than I, that is for sure. I also suck at aubergine and I nearly always roast it as you do. I say baba ganoush is a ‘speciality’ just so I can always get away with making it when I have aubergines. They lend themselves best to dips I think as that texture can go oh so wrong so easily. The only thing that might make them worse when they go wrong is perhaps a little plaster dust as garnish…

  • http://tokyoastrogirl.blogspot.com/ tokyoastrogirl

    Thanks for this- I love eggplant and will make this soon.

  • http://www.winosandfoodies.com barbara

    Ghillie Basan in Flavours of Morocco has a recipe for candied eggplant. The eggplant used are a small rounded variety which I have never seen here in Australia.

  • http://stickygooeycreamychewy.blogspot.com Susan at Sticky,Gooey,Creamy,Chewy

    Fifty ways! Good thing I’m not Arab or I’d have never gotten married! ;)

    The dip looks heavenly! I love roasted eggplant and this would be very popular at my house!

  • http://frivoler.wordpress.com andrea

    i too, have a fear of cooking eggplant. usually too mushy or too spongy – but this seems like the perfect cure my recent culinary disappointments. welcome back to your kitchen!

  • Joan

    “Start small, taste, and work your way up as needed.”

    Smart advice Clotilde!

    Can taste the flavours as I read the words..anything with coriander and I’m there!

    Eggplant is also lovely in a pasta sauce..with capers..cream…

    The mirror eggplant made me smile!

    Bet your kitchen is beside itself with joy to have you back!

  • http://pearlinparis.vox.com Pearl

    Mmm. I have a thing for eggplant. Am running out now for eggplant and yogurt… and cumin!

  • http://www.livingtastefully.weebly.com/-passions-to-pastry.html Eileen

    This recipe sounds very good and very healthy. The only way my mother ever made eggplant was to peel it, slice thinly, dip in egg and then fine cracker crumbs. This would then be fried in vegetable oil. It is still my favorite way to eat eggplant, altho’ I have to agree with my husband, that when it’s made that way, it is just a vehicle for transferring fat to your body. But occasionally, what’s wrong with that?

  • Carol

    Or, just grill eggplant rounds and smear the balance of the ingredients on top while still warm. In our house that’s called eggplant salad.

  • http://www.pithyandcleaver.blogspot.com maggie

    I never know what to do with eggplant. I am bookmarking this right now. Congrats on getting your kitchen back, too! Just in time for fall.

  • http://citygirllifestyle.blogspot.com City Girl

    I am also very afraid of eggplant — any stir fry or curry invariably gets bitter — but this dip, I can do. It looks delicious. Yay on getting your kitchen back (and I hope the new bathroom is lovely).

  • jonquil

    the recipe looks great—and i do love the color, texture, and taste of eggplant. however, even cooked, eggplant doesn’t like me. when i eat eggplant it feels like acid is itching the inside of my mouth. so if anyone can give me an idea on how to cook eggplant to elimanate this sensation, i would greatly appreciate it! anything else in the eggplant family i can eat–some raw and some cooked.

    • George Maida

      The way to eliminate the bitterness from egg plant is to slice them about 1/4 inch, salt both sides, drain on paper towels for about 30 minutes. This is an alternative to the longer colender draining method another post mentioned. A tasty, and less caloric alternative to frying is to lightly coat a baking pan with oil (i prefer olive oil)and the tops of the slices, or simply spray tops with olive oil cooking spray, and bake in a 400 degree oven till tender, about 30 min. For even faster cooking microwave them on high for a few minutes, until they reach desired tenderness.

  • Rachel

    Congrats on getting your kitchen back, I can imagine how frustrating that must have been! The dip looks delicious; I’ve been making a lot of aubergine caviar this summer and I’m glad to have a variation on the theme to add to my repertoire. Another variation worth trying is the Spanish picada de pez de tierra (the aubergine is sauteed, seasoned with smoked paprika and coriander, and pureed). And if you can get hold of the little green Thai aubergines, definitely give green curry a go!

  • http://www.choosy-beggars.com Tina – Choosy Beggars

    I’m so impressed that you lasted 7 weeks! I get stressed if I’m banished from my kitchen for 7 hours…..

    This recipe looks so healthy and good. Plus, it will be a nice variation instead of making the same old Baba Ganouj that I always make. I don’t know why I have a hundred variations for hummus and non for BG! Thank you!

  • http://www.antoniotahhan.com/blog.php Tony

    haha, being an Arab I cracked up when I read the adage – so true!!! I like to make my baba ganoush by roasting the eggplants on top of my gas burner. I find that this chars the skin a lot more quickly (about 10 minutes) and the inside remains light in color. Also, if you ever get tired of the goat yogurt (which is my aunt’s favorite way of eating her eggplant dip), definitely try it with some pomegranate molasses and pomegranate juice (my favorite way)!!
    You have a really awesome blog!!

  • http://www.aworldinapan.blogspot.com Laura

    Your recipe reminds me of the Caviar d’Aubergine I learned to make with a Lebanese friend. Pretty much the same ingredients, plus Sesame Cream. Miam! I made some last Sunday and we had it as an appetizer.

  • Marcy

    I roasted some eggplant the other day and have a container of cold goo in the fridge awaiting inspiration, until now. Thanks.

  • http://mim4art.blogspot.com mim

    I too have some cold mushy eggplant in my ‘fridge’ having baked it after getting home from the market today. I plan to make Spicy Thai dip with it. It’s my latest favorite recipe for eggplant. I will admit, though that I love eggplant in any guise.

  • cara

    This sounds heavenly. I have lately become addicted to goats milk yogurt – it is so tasty! I have a recipe that I love with eggplant from Vij’s Indian cookbook (an amazing famous restaurant in Vancouver, Canada) … it is a roasted eggplant papaya and black chickpea curry. Simply divine! I recommend it to you all.

  • http://www.widedriven.com Martina

    The eggplant can be broiled in the oven, or grilled on a charcoal barbecue. Cool slightly and peel, carefully removing every bit of scorched skin, or cut in half lengthwise and scoops out the flesh with a wooden spoon.

  • http://sailusfood.com sailaja

    Eggplant is widely used in Indian cuisine and your recipe reminds me so much of ‘Baigan Bharta’(roasted eggplants are mashed and spiced – just love the smoky flavor). I’m an eggplant freak and always on the look out for some good recipes. This recipe is something I’d like to try out.

  • http://www.wednesdaydinners.com Meg

    I just made this to take to a potluck lunch at work tomorrow. It’s so good! I’m going to serve it with taco chips, mmmm. I love that it has cilantro in it, as I’d probably have thrown mint in naturally, but the cilantro is really good and different. I used goat’s yogurt, also good.

    Like others, I had never varied my baba ganouj recipe before, so thanks so much for this really tasty new version!

  • http://www.larissatoday.de Larissa

    Yes, I´ve done it yesterday and can say it´s really gorgeous ! Thank you for the recipe.

  • http://thesplitpea.blogspot.com Eralda

    The dip looks absolutely delicious!

  • http://suziethefoodie.blogspot.com/ Suzie the Foodie

    I totally agree, that’s the only way I can eat eggplant too, roast it until it dissolves into goo, LOL. This looks excellent and I am so happy to hear you have your kitchen back. I don’t know what I would do if I could use my kitchen for seven weeks!

  • http://lachoucurieuse.blogspot.com Sarah

    I can never get enough eggplant and this dip seems like another great adventure for my aubergines! I think I’ll try veganizing it with a mixture of plain soy yogurt/soy sour cream, but otherwise it sounds delightful!

  • kayenne

    eggplant is one of the easiest and most versatile food there is!

    a local favorite here in the Philippines is to roast over open flame to char the skin, peel off skin, rake a fork to fan out the flesh, dip in beaten egg and pan fry until golden! YUMMY! served with ketchup or a spicy vinegar-based dip.

    a variation includes topping the fanned flesh with a mixture of ground meat before frying, but i love it plain with ketchup!

    i also love it the chinese way as a spicy braised eggplant dish/hotpot. YUMM!

  • aaroscape

    A lovely sounding dip! I do something similar, except I griddle or bbq the eggplant to give the dip a deliciously smokey edge, and then add a little piquancy with lemon juice. The resulting dip just about knocks a well-made hummous from the top of my dips list.

  • Marci

    A suggestion I have when making dips out of roasted eggplant is to place the roasted and removed flesh of the eggplant in a collander for a few hours (if you can wait that long!). This lets the acidic and sometimes bitter juices of the eggplant drain away. I find that it’s those juices that some people don’t like in the taste of eggplant. After that, proceed as usual.

    One very simple way we do this in Romania is to just combine the roasted, drained eggplant with some sunflower oil, salt, and chopped onion to taste into a dip or spread. It just might be my favourite thing in the world!

  • http://arugulove.wordpress.com arugulove

    Thanks for the idea! I bet this would be good with a spoonful of tahini in it…sort of a creamier, tangier version of baba ganoush.

  • http://www.lukehoney.typepad.com/the_greasy_spoon/ The Greasy Spoon

    Your aubergine (eggplant) caviar recipe is excellent. I’ve found that smaller organic aubergines really do taste different: a firmer texture, and a deeper taste. Maybe that’s stating the obvious…(!)

    Best wishes

    The Greasy Spoon

  • Nancy

    When I roast eggplant and am planning to process it, I don’t discard the skins if they have caramelized bits, the flavor is a good addition. If you use a blender or food processor, you will end up with very, very small pieces of eggplant skin.

    Lovely recipe!

  • http://bildemaker.blogspot.com Katrine K

    I am so inspired by reading your blog!

  • http://www.recipe4living.com Hillary

    Meditteranean flavors are always so healthy :) This recipe looks great!

  • http://www.biggirlssmallkitchen.com BigGirlPhoebz

    I don’t think you are too hopeless with an eggplant :) though I too always resort to roasting them for that perfect buttery mouthful. This dip is a wonderful idea. thank you!

  • http://www.wearenotmartha.com Sues

    I’ve been obsessed with eggplant lately and this dip sounds totally delicious!

  • Hannah Lee

    My Israeli mother-in-law taught me to make roasted eggplant salad with mayonnaise. And no, she does not know how to pick the eggplants that are not bitter and she’s tried all the purported methods.
    Being Chinese and a vegetarian, I make an eggplant dish with steamed and mashed eggplant that I then season with toasted sesame oil, soy sauce, decorate with cilantro and scallions (when they’re on hand), and serve over silken tofu.

  • http://sarahmelamed.com sarah

    its a lovely book, I have dozens of Isaeli cookbooks (mostly in Hebrew)but I loved the photographs in this one. Ruth Oliver (contributer of the book) taught sushi class, of all things, in the short cooking course I took last year. As for eggplants, yes, its true about the 100 different ways to prepare it, for Arabs as well as for Turks.

  • http://www.kitchenbutterfly.com Kitchen Butterfly

    Follow your heart cooking – nothing like it :-)

  • Diane

    Oh eggplant! One of my favorites! Your recipe has inspired me to get out and pick the ripening eggplant in my garden and make this right now. In anticipation of our upcoming trip to Paris (we leave Wed.)I’ve been working my way through your C&Z cookbook… the tomato confit is amazing! So I know the eggplant will be too. Thanks for a great read!

    Di

  • http://www.southerngracegourmet.com Southern Grace Gourmet

    Looks so delicious, I love vegetarian dips. I also love roasting vegetables, it adds so much to them! Great recipe!

  • http://www.healthysandiegoliving.com/ Dawn (HealthySDLiving)

    This sounds delicious–definitely going to have to give it a try. I just discovered my love for eggplant!

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