Cultured Baba Ganoush (paleo, keto, vegan)

Cultured Baba Ganoush: post-fermentation method

This is my second post on the popular aubergine hummus otherwise known as baba ganoush. Most Americans will know it as an eggplant, but I first had it in France and found the rest of the world also calls it by its french name: aubergine. Frankly it sounds much more appetizing than eggplant so I’ll stick with it. I love how it roasts and grills to smoky excellence and comes alive with extra virgin olive oil and sea salt. I have been making smokey baba ganoush for years and it is one of my favorites with crudités or a mezze platter. I have been known to eat it straight with a spoon as well. The last time I posted this was with the pre-fermentation or “classical” method. You can read that post here. Personally I find this method easier as it is exactly like making any other fermented hummus.

Consuming fermented foods aids your microbiome (the life in your gut) and helps your neurotransmitters send positive signals to your brain. This can help manage things like anxiety and inflammation and also helps your body process other vitamins more effectively.

Now, I have had a bit of a nightshade issue but the fermentation does deal with that issue to some extent. But that being said, I have had this post in my drafts for some time and am getting it out there while at the same time possibly saying goodbye to my beloved baba for who knows how long. We shall see! This is a much easer method than the pre-fermentation method and also allows you to remove the skins and seeds if needs be in order to lessen the source of nightshade related inflammation. So please enjoy. This is made with love. 🙂

Ingredients:

*If you want more authentic baba ganoush, put these optional ingredients in. If you want the more Romanian version, leave them out. For this recipe I put in the cilantro but left out the lemon. It made for a lovely smooth and smoky hummus.

Method:

  1. When picking your aubergines consider that the insides will shrink when roasting. The longer you roast, the less final product you will have. so when eyeballing them imagine the total product for each one to be about 1/2 – 2/3 the size.
  2. Roast your aubergines in a preheated oven at  350ºF/175°C until just blackened, turning over in between. This should take about an hour but keep an eye on them as it can vary according to size.
  3. When ready you should be able to poke the tops and feel a small pocket of air. Remove and let cool.
  4. While the aubergine is cooling, sanitize your jars and lids at 175 degrees Fahrenheit in the oven for 5 minutes.
  5. When they are cool enough to pick up, pull the tops off and scrape the insides into a colander to let any juices drain out. Often they are dry enough that I can skip this step. Set aside the juices.
  6. Place the strained aubergine in your food processor with roasted & diced or fermented onion (if using diced you will need to add a 1/2 cup culturing juice) or whey) and all other ingredients except for the olive oil. If you need more liquid, add in some of the strained juices. Process until smooth.
  7. Scoop the contents carefully into your jar. I used a 1.5 liter swing top kilner jar for this.
  8. Pour the olive oil over the top, close the lid and carefully turn the jar until the gap of air is coated in olive oil up to the rim of the lid. This will keep any bad bacteria out and allow the air bubbles to escape as the hungry wild yeasts do their magic. You always want a jar that has at least 1/3-1/2 empty after your ferment is inside when it comes to hummus, mash, sauces etc as they can get a little over excited… believe me. I have come downstairs to the hummus blob and olive oil all over my kitchen counter. No fun.
  9. Leave to ferment for 1-3 days depending on taste.  Once finished, stir the olive oil in and store in a 1 liter glass container in the fridge.

If serving immediately, leave out the culturing liquid.  Spoon into a bowl and stir in 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, then drizzle a bit more on the top. I sometimes just save some out, culturing liquid and all and serve with olive oil.

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An Aubergine Story: Cultured Smoky Eggplant Dip

This is a recipe I have been anticipating for a couple of years now. There are a couple ways to do this. I would consider this the trickier but as I have yet to try the other method we will go with it. Let’s call this the classical method.

Enter the humble aubergine. Eggplant, for the Americans. I love it, but many don’t. My favorite thing about aubergine is how well it roasts up with extra virgin olive oil and sea salt. It behaves like a mushroom in this way, but the flavor, to me, is even more magical. I have been making smokey baba ganoush for years and it is one of my favorite dips for a Mediterranean spread… or just to sit over with my bowl of carrots and celery and devour all on my own. But how to culture it? It has been my mission over the past couple years to inject all my food with probiotics in the amazing old school method of fermentation. Old school preservation. No nasty stuff. No need for sugar. Just salt, water and wild yeasts.

Fermenting helps your microbiome (the life in your gut) and helps your neurotransmitters send health to your body and happy thoughts to your brain. For real.

So for this recipe I fermented aubergine and then proceeded to make baba ganoush with it, but it was missing something… That wonderful smokey flavor I loved was no longer there and the texture was off… I assume that if I were to let it culture much much longer it would be fine but as this was only cultured a week the result was a bit chunky. So I took the other half of my aubergines and quartered them, roasted them to blackened and divided them in bags: 2-3 a piece for freezing and 2-3 for this recipe, depending on size.

By the way I did this a long while ago but then promptly ate the whole thing and with all my daughter’s health issues never got around to posting it. Here it is now. I hope you enjoy it!

Ingredients

*If you want more authentic baba ganoush, put these optional ingredients in. If you want the more Romanian version, leave them out. Personally I have loved the latter for a change. You can even go heavier on the onion if that’s your jam.

Method:

Combine all ingredients in a food processor, including the olive oil as the aubergine is pre-fermented. Yay! Process until smooth.

Put in a pretty bowl and top with olive oil and hemp seeds, if you like. Obviously, I like.

Let me know how it goes for you!