Make Moutabal at home...

Make Moutabal at home...

It's a classic Middle Eastern dip made of eggplants, lemon juice, garlic and tahini

Make Moutabal at home Video Credit: Anas Thacharpadikkal/Gulf News

A Levantine dish, this vegan dip is made from roasted eggplant, minced garlic, dash of lime juice and olive oil. Moutabal is a must-have dip in a traditional Lebanese platter. What is the right way to eat it? There is not one, but many. Dip a freshly baked pita bread in it, smear it on bread or even use it as a sandwich spread. Here is a guide to making a bowl full of tangy goodness:


1 eggplant 

4 tbsp labneh (store brought) 

2 tbsp tahini paste (can be store brought)

To make tahini
Roast sesame seeds on a medium to high heat in a pan until they turn golden in colour. Allow it to cool and then blend into a fine powder. Empty the powder into a jar or bowl. Add olive oil and salt. You can avoid using salt, however, it lends a nice taste to the tahini paste. Store the jar in the fridge. The paste lasts a month or even more, the oil will begin to float after a while, which is perfectly alright.

3 cloves garlic (finely chopped)

1 tbsp lemon juice

A pinch of cumin powder 

Salt to taste 

Ingredients for Mutabal
Ingredients [clockwise]: Paprika, roasted pine nuts, olive oil, rocket leaves, pomegranate, fried aubergine, lemon juice Image Credit: Stefan Lindeque/Gulf News

1. Grill the eggplant on an open flame/fire. Using a pair of tongs, keep turning it over every few minutes. Keep doing this until the skin is charred and the fleshly pulpy part inside is soft. You can insert a knife or a fork to check if it is done.

Chargrill the eggplant on open flame
Chargrill the eggplant on open flame Image Credit: Stefan Lindeque/Gulf News

2. Once done, allow it to cool for a few minutes before you start peeling the skin. Alternatively, hold it under running water to bring down the temperature.

Peel off the skin
Allow the eggplants to cool, or under running water peel the skin Image Credit: Stefan Lindeque/Gulf News

3. Peel the skin and place the flesh in a bowl. Using a fork, mash the eggplant to form a paste.

4. Chop garlic cloves or use a mortar and pestle to make garlic paste. Add this to the bowl of eggplants.

5. Next, add tahini paste, labneh (strained yoghurt). Or you can also use dry yoghurt, which can be prepared by baking or freeze-drying.

Add tahini paste
Add tahini paste Image Credit: Stefan Lindeque/Gulf News

6. Add lemon juice, salt to taste and mix them using your hands. Make sure your hands are clean and dry before you begin mixing. Cover the bowl with a lid and keep aside. 

Add salt to the eggplant mix
Add salt to the eggplant mix Image Credit: Stefan Lindeque/Gulf News
Mix all the ingredients
Mix all the ingredients Image Credit: Stefan Lindeque/Gulf News

7. Cut one slice of aubergine, sprinkle some salt, cumin powder on the white side.

8. Heat a pan, add oil to it and gently slide the aubergine into it. Deep-fry on high flame for two to three minutes.

Deep-fry for 2 to 3 minutes
Deep-fry for 2 to 3 minutes Image Credit: Stefan Lindeque/Gulf News

9. Using a spoon place the moutabal on the fried aubergine, sprinkle some roasted pinenuts and pomegranate. You can also drizzle pomegranate molasses and sprinkle some rocket leaves.

Traditionally moutabal is served in a bowl, however if you want to try a unique plating method - you can place it on a fried eggplant, sprinkle some roasted pinenuts, pomegranate seeds and pomegranate molasses for garnish. Take this dish up a notch with this plating.

Using a spoon, place the mutabal on the fried eggplant Image Credit: Stefan Lindeque/Gulf News
Mutabal Image Credit: Stefan Lindeque/Gulf News

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