Indian Spiced Eggplant Dip

It all began with a farmers market.  You see, I have a rather horrible affliction.  It’s called “Enthusiasticoverspendingatfarmersmarketsitis”.  That is a long name for an absolutely debilitating disease.  As soon as I enter a local market I lose control over any willpower and common sense that I thought I had and plunge head first into yet another bout of throwing budget out the window in favour of purchasing mass amounts of produce which will inevitably go bad in my fridge.  Impulse buying based on whimsy or (ir)rationalization is a common side effect of this disorder.  Symptoms include stocking up on profane quantities of fruits and vegetables which one does not need and could not possibly consume, even if s/he wanted to….and oh, but I ALWAYS want to. 

You would think that I would have learned by now.  Time after time, it’s the same unfortunate cycle.  What could I possibly want with a bushel of beets?  You’ll find out next week.  How many pluots can one person consume?  I’m currently working on that.  And why, oh WHY would I buy eight (8) adorable supple skinned and jewel toned baby eggplants, knowing that I already had TWO (2) big mama eggplants in the fridge already?  These are questions that Mike asks me every day. 

On Monday I used 6 of those precious beauties for dinner (and the next day’s lunch), stuffing them with caramelized onion in a rich Mediterranean tomato sauce with kidney beans, turkey kielbasa and Portuguese St. Jorge cheese and doing a crispy herbed gratin crust on top.   They were good.  They were so good that when Mike was eating the leftovers he looked up with that kicked puppy look and said, “Is this….is this the last of it?  No more?  Are you sure?”

However, on Wednesday I looked in the crisper and there were still two big eggplant and two wee babies staring back up at me.  One of the large ones had been there for almost two weeks (why I bought another one without using the first is a question best left unasked) and although it wasn’t showing signs of aging yet, I knew that it was only a matter of time.  Well, into the oven it went for a good roasting.  After half an hour I decided to add the babies as well.  I didn’t know what I was going to do with them the next day, but I was toying with the idea of an eggplant and sausage spaghetti sauce, or a pureed roasted eggplant and buttermilk soup.  Those plans were put on hold when I remembered that friends were coming over for drinks and to meet our new kitty the next day.  Since I’m actually physically unable to have people in the house and not feed them, I decided to make an eggplant dip to serve with the cured meats, cheeses, fruits and assorted munchies that would inevitably come out.

I like Baba Ganouj.  Mike likes Baba Ganouj.  Most of the people that I know like Baba Ganouj.  But why not try something a little bit different?  This dip is spicy and garlicky with layers of flavour from the Indian themed spices.  Flecks of green peek through with the bright taste of fresh mint which lightens the dip and gives a serious flavour boost.  One of the ladies slipped on a Freudian and said, “GOD, this is totally ad-DIP-tive!” as she went back for another bite.  It is also, thankfully, about as guilt free as it gets in my house.  There is a tiny bit of olive oil added for texture and flavour, but if you wanted a fat free dip you could easily go without. 

One last note:  This is a licking dip, not a kissing dip.  We licked our fingers, we licked the dollop that had spilled onto the table off of an errant lavash and we licked our lips after every garlicky bite.  Just because it inspired love in us, however, does not make this a first date dip.  Or a “meet the parents” dip.  Or a “close talking in confined spaces” dip.  There you go, you have been warned.

Garlicky Spicy Eggplant Dip

  • 2 medium eggplant *
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • handful fresh mint
  • 1 tsp hot red pepper flakes **
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • Salt and pepper to taste
* As you know, I used 1 large and 2 wee baby eggplant, but just pretend it was two medium for the sake of the recipe.

** This is what gives the dip some heat.  If you’re not interested in spicy foods feel free to reduce the amount of pepper flakes according to your liking. 

Begin by roasting your eggplant.  I had roasted mine the day before so unfortunately there are no pictures of that, but if you’re uncertain on what to do it’s very easy.

– Preheat your oven to 450 F.

– Put your eggplant on a cookie sheet with a rim as it will release some juice as it roasts.
– Let the eggplant roast away for about 45 min – 1 hour, turning it over halfway through so that it cooks evenly.  You should see some charring where it was sitting on the sheet, and you can tell that it’s done when it has collapsed and juices have started to leak out….in the nicest way possible.

Let the eggplant cool down, and then scoop the insides out and into a food processor.  If you roast the eggplant long enough you can actually just cut off the top and peel the skin away in one big chunk, which I like to do.  I find that very satisfying for some reason.  And then I get worried about what kind of a person gets their kicks from peeling eggplant.  These are the days of my life.

Add the two cloves of garlic to the food processor and puree the mixture until you can’t see any white chunks of garlic whirring by you.

Peel the mint leaves off of the stems and add this to the pureed eggplant along with the spices and a generous sprinkling of salt. 

Process this and you’re done!  Like THAT!  SNAP!!  I love fast and healthy.

I served this dip with two types of home made lavash – which, by the way, is incredibly easy and fast to make – but it would be wonderful with some toasted pita wedges or cruddite.
Sorry Baba Ganouj.  You’re still my friend, it’s just that things have changed between us.  The spark has faded, the passion is just not there anymore.  Clotilde tells me that it will come back in time, you just need to grow up a little… let’s take a break, and I’ll see you in a few weeks.  Maybe things will be different then.

Did I mention that home made lavash is incredibly easy and fast to make?  Oh, I did?  Silly me…. but just look at that, and tell me you don’t want to go make some RIGHT NOW.  Rosemary poppy seed and curried sesame seed lavash. 

I know. 

What’s playing?  Give a Little Love by Noah and the Whale.
  • Margie

    I do love Baba Ganouj. Is this that much better?

  • Tina

    Actually, the only similarity between this and baba ganouj is that they’re both garlicky eggplant dips. This dip is delicious and very healthy but not at all creamy like baba ganouj. The flavors are really intense though, so if you’re tired of BG but want to make an eggplant dip you might want to try this one!

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  • Claire

    I must tell you how much I love you right now. I had an eggplant and some mint that were mocking me from the fridge so I halved the recipe. The problem is that I love the look of eggplant but find it a hard sell in the house unless I go all out for eggplant parm. Now I have a quick, easy, deadly delicious and healthy dip that I don’t have to share with anyone. Wicked good. Thanks.