Cumin Spiced Baba Ghanoush

For those of you who don’t know, though I expect many of you do, baba ghanoush is a dip of Levantine origin made using charred aubergine (eggplant). In its traditional form it contains ingredients similar to hummus, though this version diverges from the norm just a smidge. To be perfectly honest, as one must, I prefer hummus to the more traditional versions of baba ghanoush. However, spices like cumin and coriander seem to work exceptionally well with aubergine, a fruit I’m not particularly fond of, and serve to bring it well and truly to life.

It seems that the “correct” way to make baba ghanoush is to roast the fruit over a naked flame, something easily achieved if one is in possession of a gas hob. However, not all of us have the luxury of such a thing and had to plump for the far less exciting option of roasting my aubergines. The result remained delicious, as one might imagine, but the smokiness of the resultant dip didn’t quite reach the level it should have.

This recipe packs quite the punch, which, in my opinion, dips always should. After all, the real beauty of a dip does not belong to its accompanying crudité, but to the depth of flavour it possesses. However, if one is in possession of a mild-mannered mouth, feel free to alter the quantity of chilli and garlic present – my objective is not to alienate.

In terms of my life in Bristol and how it currently relates to blogging I’ve hit a bit of a stumbling block, but it shan’t keep me down for too long. I’m fairly certain the lighting in my new flat is a little rubbish, not that I’ve spent much time here during the day. However, an artificial light source is soon to be purchased and set up, meaning a return to regular recipes in looming on the horizon. For now, enjoy this delicious dip and don’t worry – I have another post in reserve!

Cumin Spiced Baba Ghanoush

Makes 1 large bowl


• 2 large aubergines

• 2 cloves of garlic

• The juice of 1 lemon

• A drizzle of olive oil, perhaps 2-3 tbsp

• 1 tsp whole cumin

• A handful of fresh coriander

• 1 fresh red chilli, seeds and all

• 1 tbsp greek yoghurt (optional)

• Salt and pepper


1. Pierce and roast the aubergines in a hot oven, around 220C, for 60 minutes until they appear a little charred. Alternatively, toast over a naked flame. Scoop out the innards and set aside.

2. Take your cumin and lightly toast the seeds. Grind them in a mortar and pestle. Throw everything into a food processor and blend until smooth, very the amount of oil to perfect the consistency, it shouldn’t be at all sloppy. Season and serve with pita or my rather spectacular garlic flatbreads.

Cost: This recipe will never be as cheap as hummus since aubergines have the annoying tendency to cost rather a lot more than chickpeas. Still, at around £2.10 this dip won’t exactly break the proverbial bank.

100 comments on “Cumin Spiced Baba Ghanoush

  1. thesinglegourmetandtraveller
    October 20, 2012 at 5:08 pm

    I think I’d like your ‘oven’ roasted baba ghanoush more than the traditional – I love aubergine but don’t like things too smokey so sometimes find baba ghanous too much … must try it your way!

    • frugalfeeding
      October 24, 2012 at 8:13 pm

      that’s fair enough – it really is all down to personal taste!

  2. petit4chocolatier
    October 20, 2012 at 5:46 pm

    This is so appetizing! I love this so much better!

  3. Claire Sambolino
    October 20, 2012 at 6:28 pm

    Reblogged this on An eye for food and commented:
    If you love hummus then this Frugal Feeding recipe for Baba Ghanoush is for you. I’ve been following Frugal for sometime now and his recipes never fail to impress.

  4. Cathy
    October 20, 2012 at 6:39 pm

    Thanks for posting this – I’ve been meaning to make this for ages, and when you mentioned the lack of “smokiness” I immediately thought of my smoked salt I posted about recently. That might do the trick! If I do get round to trying it, I’ll let you know! Love the idea of adding cumin too. 😀

    • frugalfeeding
      October 24, 2012 at 8:10 pm

      No problem! That’s a great idea too! Yes, the cumin works well too.

  5. applepiezucchini
    October 20, 2012 at 7:08 pm

    I’ve been meaning to make Baba Ghanoush for a while now – will definitely be happy if it looks as good as it does in your pics!

    • frugalfeeding
      October 24, 2012 at 8:09 pm

      Oh you must 😀 It’s lovely. I know you’ll love it.

  6. Karista
    October 20, 2012 at 7:44 pm

    I just don’t make this enough. Love your recipe and it will be lovely for holiday gatherings.

    • frugalfeeding
      October 24, 2012 at 8:09 pm

      Thanks, Karista! It will indeed. I don’t make it very much either.

  7. Juls
    October 20, 2012 at 8:16 pm

    I really don’t eat baba ghanoush often enough despite being a great lover of aubergine. I once had it made with smoked aubergine – best thing ever! I like that you added yoghurt to it though – it makes a nice change from the usual!

    • frugalfeeding
      October 24, 2012 at 8:08 pm

      Tut, Juls! You should! Yes, the yoghurt worked well!

  8. EllaDee
    October 20, 2012 at 9:36 pm

    This is a great recipe. Funny how people who don’t like eggplant love baba ganoush… to me it is the food of gods. I’ll try your slightly spice dversion soon 🙂

  9. Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial
    October 20, 2012 at 9:41 pm

    Nice recipe, Nick! And have you managed to take your dining room table with you? 🙂

    • frugalfeeding
      October 24, 2012 at 8:08 pm

      Thanks, Celi! Alas, no! This was taken before!

  10. kanzensakura
    October 20, 2012 at 10:39 pm

    I shall definitely give this one a go. I had electric stove when we moved into this house but converted to gas for cooking. This is be great for this recipe. It is amazing how I was also checking for your wonderful table! 🙂

    • frugalfeeding
      October 24, 2012 at 8:08 pm

      Please do! That’s good! I like that table, shame I’m 6 hours away from it now (by train at least)

  11. Smedette
    October 20, 2012 at 10:53 pm

    I love baba ghanoush! Any benefit to roasting the eggplants whole versus sliced in half?

    Years ago, I taught English in the Czech Republic and the students were to learn British English (I’m American). Everything thing was fine until the word “aubergine” appeared in a text book…an embarrassing first day seeing as I had never heard that word before.

    • frugalfeeding
      October 24, 2012 at 8:07 pm

      Awesome! I have no idea! I;ve never seen them roasted in half. Haha – that is embarrassing 😀

  12. vervainanddill
    October 20, 2012 at 11:21 pm

    Your recipes kill me with delight and the photos are mouthwatering. So happy to have found your blog.

  13. narf77
    October 21, 2012 at 1:57 am

    You could add a little smoked paprika to get the desired smokiness that you miss through roasting…or you could go the whole hog and roast that sucker till it got well charred on high and sacrifice some of the outside flesh ;). A wonderful recipe that will be most appreciated when the weather is hot and I could care less about eating let alone cooking. I know that day is coming sooner rather than later but I am clinging pathetically to winter, warm fires, Brunhilda our enormous wood burning stove and endless free hot water…I am not a fan of heat. Once eggplants come down in price I will make this AND I may even whack a couple of eggplant punnets in to grow our own this year. Cheers for another fantastic recipe, as simply and silkily seductive as it is scrumptious 🙂

    • frugalfeeding
      October 24, 2012 at 8:07 pm

      Yes, that’s not a bad idea actually! I’m loving the winter. Thanks – I know you’ll love it.

  14. sowninpeace
    October 21, 2012 at 2:03 am

    I love this …i live in Canada and i do have a BBQ in the summer when my garden is full of eggplant i make this dish by the bowlfull….It’s the only way i have convinced my husband to eat eggplant so far lol

    • frugalfeeding
      October 28, 2012 at 11:13 pm

      Ah, that sounds great 😀 – I’m not such a fan either.

  15. Bam's Kitchen
    October 21, 2012 at 3:00 am

    I love eating this and really need to make this for myself,even if my teenagers will not eat it. I don’t like to be deprived of the things that are so delicious and actually quite healthy as well.

    • frugalfeeding
      October 24, 2012 at 8:06 pm

      OH, it’s very cheap – make it and enjoy it!

  16. Barbara Bamber | justasmidgen
    October 21, 2012 at 3:47 am

    I’ve missed your frequent posts, Nick. The light, or the lack of, in the early evenings is dismal here at best. I can compensate on Picmonkey by dialing up the exposure. I’m curious to know what light you choose. Baba Ghanoush is a favorite dip of mine.. I char my stuff on the barbecue. I wonder if a blow torch would work, lol?

    • frugalfeeding
      October 24, 2012 at 8:05 pm

      Thanks, Barbara! Yes, I increase exposure a little where necessary. I suppose it would!

  17. peasepudding
    October 21, 2012 at 3:56 am

    I love this version with cumin, definitely lifts the flavour and I will try it next time.

    • frugalfeeding
      October 24, 2012 at 8:05 pm

      Thanks – cumin always works well in things like this.

  18. emmycooks
    October 21, 2012 at 4:36 am

    This looks excellent! We’ll contend with the dark months together–can’t we just all agree that bloggers from dark places (ahem, Seattle) can just post poorly-lit photos? 🙂

    • frugalfeeding
      October 24, 2012 at 7:59 pm

      Thanks!Hehe – that would be a good agreement 😀

  19. Aimee@clevermuffin
    October 21, 2012 at 6:27 am

    Looks very scummy! I love eggplant (aubergine if you will), in any variety. Be interested to hear how you go with artificial light source, I bought a light box awhile ago but still haven’t set it up… slack, very slack.

    • frugalfeeding
      October 24, 2012 at 7:50 pm

      Scummy?! Is that a good thing? I’ll get round to telling everyone soon – it’s not that special 😀

  20. Shaun
    October 21, 2012 at 7:59 am

    Nick ~ I’m a great fan of aubergine and have often looked to recipes from Sicily, the Levant and Middle East for inspiration and guidance. I don’t have a gas hob either, so I slice the skin off in a zebra-like pattern, then thinly slice the aubergine. I put the slices of auberine onto a tray and douse them with olive oil & season them and put them into an oven at a very high temperature. They always taste slightly smoky, so this method works well enough. I hope you find many ways to embrace aubergine.

    • frugalfeeding
      October 28, 2012 at 11:13 pm

      That’s not a bad idea – I shall consider it! Thanks!

  21. digger666
    October 21, 2012 at 10:32 am

    Reblogged this on digger666 and commented:
    Sounds wonderful.

  22. Jennifer M.
    October 21, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    This is a great use of all the eggplant I had from my garden this year! One can only eat so much ratatouille.

    • frugalfeeding
      October 24, 2012 at 7:49 pm

      Give it a go – yes, too much of one thing can be a little much.

  23. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide
    October 21, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    We have eggplant, wonderful. I love making this. Fun to eat and say.

  24. A House and A Garden
    October 21, 2012 at 4:35 pm

    I must try this one.. Always looking for.. ehm. Food. To eat. So yes, will try this one.

  25. An Unrefined Vegan
    October 21, 2012 at 7:47 pm

    Never have tried making this at home simply because I love the char/smokiness of this dip and knew I couldn’t replicate it. It looks lovely, however – nice and chunky.

    • frugalfeeding
      October 28, 2012 at 11:11 pm

      Yes, it is difficult – but still delicious.

  26. christinajane
    October 21, 2012 at 8:12 pm

    Yes, feedback on your lighting setup would be great! All of us Northerners are struggling with the same thing.. Last time I made this I just mashed with a fork and it was horribly lumpy. Food processor is definitely necessary. That flatbread – nom.

    • frugalfeeding
      October 24, 2012 at 7:48 pm

      Haha – the cold, harsh north. Yes – I love my food processor 😀

  27. zoejardiniere
    October 21, 2012 at 10:27 pm

    If only I had a food processor 🙁 I feel so left out of the home made dip and soup world.

    • frugalfeeding
      October 28, 2012 at 11:10 pm

      Get one – they’re not too expensive 😀

  28. buildingmybento
    October 21, 2012 at 11:43 pm

    Thanks for liking my post about Japanese curry, frugalfeeding! Have you tried it before?
    Adding cumin to this aubergine classic reminds me of the street vendors in China, liberally sprinkling spices on whatever is being grilled. They first grill the aubergine, then slit it down from the stem and spread it wide. A spice blend is added and the flesh becomes mushy- its consistency evokes a Hunanese-style dish called 擂辣椒茄子 lei lajiao qiezi, or mashed aubergine and hot peppers- one of my favourites.

    • frugalfeeding
      October 28, 2012 at 11:09 pm

      No problem! I’m afraid I haven’t. That sounds fantastic 🙂

  29. movita beaucoup
    October 21, 2012 at 11:56 pm

    Loving the cumin, coriander and red chilli in there! I agree – dips should have a bite!

    • frugalfeeding
      October 24, 2012 at 7:48 pm

      Oh yes, it’s not so good if they whimper.

  30. Big Al
    October 22, 2012 at 8:00 am

    I think i will try this with Isle of white black smoked garlic!

  31. cookinginsens
    October 22, 2012 at 8:38 am

    I first had baba ghanoush in a Lebanese restaurant in Burkina Faso. Yours looks perfect.

  32. Victor
    October 22, 2012 at 10:16 am

    Guess my aubergine sitting in the fridge for a week is going to end up in the oven tomorrow for a healthy dip. 🙂

  33. Natalie Ward
    October 22, 2012 at 2:48 pm

    How funny! Great minds and all that…I love the cumin as well, next time definitely adding some. And now I’m going to check out your flatbreads, did I miss them or what? 🙂

    • frugalfeeding
      October 24, 2012 at 7:47 pm

      They do indeed. The flatbreads were divine 😀

  34. Debs @ The Spanish Wok
    October 22, 2012 at 4:21 pm

    Sounds delicious, I just fancy this right now, have pinned, thanks.

  35. austinjbay
    October 22, 2012 at 11:25 pm

    I love eggplant. In fact, I need to do some more work with it. I have been too obsessed with fall vegetables lately. Great job! Love the blog.

    • frugalfeeding
      October 28, 2012 at 11:01 pm

      Yes, you must! I have to admit I’m not such a big fan, but this was nice,

  36. Domestic CEO
    October 23, 2012 at 1:06 am

    I’m going to try it this week!

  37. deliciouscravings
    October 23, 2012 at 4:20 am

    Reblogged this on deliciouscravings.

  38. Maya Oryan
    October 23, 2012 at 11:21 am

    Lovely! A very Lebanese dish:)

  39. Sasha
    October 24, 2012 at 3:01 am

    I love this stuff sooo much but it’s sooo garlicky! And garlic breath doesn’t make people very likable lol

    • frugalfeeding
      October 24, 2012 at 7:28 pm

      Thanks, Sasha! Haha – I chew gum afterwards 😀

  40. soffiagudrun
    October 24, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    Funny, I was just bookmarking a baba ghanoush recipe this morning, something I have never made. I like this one:

  41. Susan
    October 24, 2012 at 11:32 pm

    I think the photos are very nice. Lovely baba ghanoush! I’m surprised you didn’t whack a little smoked paprika in this. 😉

    • frugalfeeding
      October 27, 2012 at 7:22 pm

      Thanks, Susan! I like to keep things quite simple – let flavours speak for themselves 😀

  42. preppyandfunny
    October 25, 2012 at 12:45 am

    Yummy! This must be soooo good! Thanks for sharing!

  43. Sue
    October 25, 2012 at 9:52 pm

    Delicious. I made a half batch and ate the whole thing at lunch. I used some left-over eggplant that we’d barbecued on the grill a couple days ago and it tasted spectacular. Thanks so much for the recipe.

  44. FoodThatMakesYouSmile
    October 28, 2012 at 11:48 pm

    This looks so yummy and has come to my attention at a brilliant time as I was wondering what to do with the 2 aubergines I have in my fridge – Amazing! I will be trying this out tomorrow for sure, can’t wait. Thank you! 🙂

  45. Alexa
    October 29, 2012 at 12:06 am

    This looks delicious! I would eat this on its own!

  46. Big Hungry Gnomes
    November 4, 2012 at 7:55 pm

    Your oven roasted baba ganoush sounds wonderful. I have to agree with you on dips needing to pack a punch, as people can always give their flatbread a token single dip if they aren’t a fan of strong flavours. Thanks for sharing the fantastic recipe

    • frugalfeeding
      November 8, 2012 at 2:02 pm

      Thanks! Exactly! There just isn’t much point if it doesn’t wow the eater!

  47. icky
    November 7, 2012 at 10:41 pm

    one of my favorite foods in the world! i use a whole head of roasted garlic in mine – i love the caramelized flavor!

    • frugalfeeding
      November 11, 2012 at 1:19 pm

      Fantastic! That sounds dangerous 😀 – I love roasted garlic.

  48. kylbeebee
    December 4, 2012 at 12:42 am

    Reblogged this on Beans and Honey and commented:
    Really looking forward to eggplant season!

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