Prepare the eggplant by cooking it over a medium open flame until its soft, and you can pierce it easily with a skewer or knife. This usually takes around 4-5 minutes for each side and is the best way to obtain that delicious smoky flavor. ( for a roasted eggplant dip option - check the recipe notes)
Leave the eggplant to cool completely, or cover with plastic wrap for 20-30 minutes and then remove the charred skin. It should come off easily. If there are a few stuck bits, use bits of tissue paper to help remove them - just don't rinse the aubergine underwater or you'll remove the smoky flavor and affect the texture.
Mash the eggplant flesh in a bowl, using a fork. You can also use a blender or food processor (read my notes below for more guidance).
Add salt, garlic, tahini, lemon juice, and mix well. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if necessary.
Finally, top the eggplant mixture with olive oil and sprinkle with parsley and pomegranate seeds. Enjoy along with Lebanese Pita bread!
To Serve & Store: This Moutabal can be served at room temperature or chilled. Keep it fresh in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days. You can also freeze it in an airtight container for up to a month.
Recipe Notes & Variations
Feel free to adjust the seasonings/ ingredients to your taste. I love the fresh lemony flavor, but you may prefer less. I suggest adding around 3/4 of my suggested amounts of each to begin with and adjusting, as needed. You can even add salt and pepper, rather than just salt.
For a richer, creamy eggplant dip then feel free to add yogurt. I suggest either labneh or a tart Turkish yogurt. You could also use a dairy-free yogurt, to keep this recipe vegan. You could even use 50:50 yogurt and sour cream.
If you can't use an open flame, then this recipe can be adapted to a roasted eggplant dip. Simply use a knife or fork to pierce the skin of the eggplant in a few places and then bake in the oven for about 30 minutes, at 200C/400F. To get the smoky flavor, finish it off by grilling/broiling the aubergine for a further 5-10 minutes, until the skin is charred.
I usually find it unnecessary to salt my eggplant. However, if you've had issues with bitter eggplant previously then you can. Cut the eggplant in half lengthways and then salt liberally. Leave it to sweat for around 30 minutes, then squeeze out the excess liquid and pat off excess salt.
This smoky eggplant dip can be prepared two ways; mashed by hand, or in a blender/ food processor. The first is the way I always prepare it, for a slightly chunkier texture. However, for a smooth 'hummus-like' texture then feel free to blend it all up in a blender.