This not-your-classic eggplant dip (baba ghanoush) has an Asian twist with sauteed onions, garlic, ginger, soy and rice wine. It’s super flavorful, luxurious, slightly smoky and very tasty.
The dip can be made as smoky, spicy and aromatic as you want by varying the technique and ingredients.
The traditional version of Egyptian eggplant dip, also called Baba Ghanoush (or you may have seen it spelled baba ganoush or baba ghanouj), is typically made with lemon, minced garlic cloves and tahini.
The Israeli version adds mayonnaise.
The Greek eggplant dip is generally left chunkier and includes raw onions.
Today, we are making an Asian-inspired version. Roasted eggplant is pureed and combined with a wonderful and unique blend of tastes that gives the simple dip layers of flavors. And it’s spicy! (or not).
My cousin first introduced this version of roasted eggplant dip to our family years ago. Since then, I’ve discovered its roots in a New York Times recipe and played with the ingredients to achieve the taste I like.
Ingredients – tailored to your taste
Eggplant is the star ingredient of course. Note that large eggplant is not always better. See how to choose an eggplant in the FAQs below. You can also use Japanese eggplants which have a lovely creamy flesh when cooked and they’re seedless.
- Adjust the amounts of ginger, brown sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar and garlic to your taste.
- Add as much or as little heat as your taste buds like with more or less red pepper flakes (or sriracha).
- Smoked paprika adds a bit of smoky flavor, especially if you chose to roast your eggplant in the oven instead of on the grill.
- You may also want to add a few drops of sesame oil.
Garnishes: Fresh herbs like cilantro or fresh parsley can be incorporated in the dip or used as a garnish. You can also garnish the dip with an extra drizzle of olive oil.
Texture options: The food processor gives this dip an ultra-smooth texture. But you can leave it chunkier if you prefer. Just mix in the mashed eggplant and the other ingredients in a large bowl with a spoon or with an immersion blender until it reaches the consistency you like.
Step by step instructions
Sauté onions until tender. Add in other ingredients and boil for a minute.
The longer you leave the charred skin of the eggplant in contact with the flesh of the eggplant before peeling it off, the smokier it will taste.
When choosing a dark purple eggplant, bigger is not better. Larger more mature eggplants tend to be more bitter and have more seeds. Look for an eggplant that is firm (with just slight give to the touch), shiny, smooth and not wrinkled. The stem should be green.
Most chefs agree that it is no longer necessary to salt eggplant before cooking as eggplant is now bred for mildness and to avoid bitterness. This is especially true if you buy smaller eggplants with less seeds. I don’t bother, but here’s how to salt eggplant if you are concerned about bitterness.
The skin on eggplant is perfectly edible. But for this dish, we wanted the consistency to be really smooth, so the skin is removed.
Ways to Use Eggplant Dip
- serve it as a dip with warm pita bread, this homemade naan bread, any type of cracker, raw vegetable or chip or even our easy cheese twists
- spread on a crostini or cracker, topped with halved cherry tomatoes (or chopped tomatoes) and cucumber for the perfect appetizer
- add it as a topping to burgers or just about any type of protein
- of use it as the perfect spread in a grilled chicken pita sandwich with tomatoes and tzatziki sauce (yum)
Make the dip ahead and keep it in the fridge, covered with plastic wrap or in airtight container, for up to 5 days. I actually like it even better the next day when the flavors have time to blend. You can also freeze if for several months, but the consistency may change (extra moisture).
Other appetizers you might like
- shrimp cocktail recipe (with homemade cocktail sauce)
- avocado appetizers on crostini
- stuffed mini peppers with goat cheese
- endive appetizers with ricotta and gems
- caprese appetizers
- dukkah recipe
- oven roasted garlic appetizer
If you like this recipe, please leave a 5 star rating 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟in the recipe card below. And if you REALLY like it, consider a review in the comments. Thanks very much!
Eggplant Dip (Asian-Inspired)
- 1 medium eggplant (about 1 pound/450 grams)
- 1 teaspoon vegetable or olive oil
- 1/3 cup finely chopped onion
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic (1 clove)
- 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger (or 1/4 tsp ground ginger)
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 1/2 tablespoon rice wine (or lemon juice)
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- salt to taste (about 1/2 tsp)
- Optional: 2-3 drops sesame oil or more, fresh parsley or cilantro
- GRILL EGGPLANT: Heat grill to high. Pierce eggplant in several spots with a sharp knife. Place eggplant on grill and cook for 15-20 minutes, turning occasionally. Eggplant is ready when very soft (pierced through with knife) and charred. (To ROAST instead, see NOTE 1). Transfer to colander and slit eggplant open. Let extra moisture drain and cool. Scrape flesh off eggplant skin and remove seeds (if any).
- MAKE FLAVOR MIXTURE: While eggplant is grilling, heat oil in a small pan to medium heat. Add onions and saute 5-6 minutes until tender. Stir in garlic and ginger for 30 seconds. Add soy, brown sugar, rice wine, chili flakes and salt. Bring to boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
- BLEND EGGPLANT DIP: Place cooked eggplant flesh in food processor. Add onion mixture. Process until smooth. Alternatively, use an immersion stick blender. Taste and adjust seasonings to your taste. Add a few drops of sesame oil if using (I do). Transfer to a serving bowl. Serve this creamy dip cold, warm or at room temperature with pita chips, crusty bread, raw vegetables or crackers.
- To roast whole eggplants: Heat oven to 425F/218C. Rub eggplants with olive oil and pierce with a knife in several places. Place on a foil-lined baking sheet. Roast for 30-40 minutes until very tender. Using a pair of tongs, turn it once or twice part way through. Slit the charred eggplants open to remove the excess liquid.
- Seasonings: Adjust the amounts of ginger, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar and garlic to your taste. Add as much or as little heat as your taste buds like with more or less red pepper flakes (or sriracha). Smoked paprika adds a bit of smoky flavor, especially if you chose to roast your eggplant in the oven instead of on the grill. You can also add a drop or two of sesame oil.
- Garnishes: Fresh herbs like cilantro or fresh parsley can be incorporated in the dip or used as a garnish. You can also garnish the dip with an extra drizzle of olive oil.
- Texture options: The food processor gives this dip an ultra-smooth texture. But you can leave it chunkier if you prefer. Just mix in the mashed eggplant and the other ingredients in a large bowl with a spoon or with an immersion blender until it reaches the consistency you like.
- Make ahead: This eggplant dip recipe can be made ahead and kept in fridge covered or in plastic or in a sealed container for up to 5 days. You can also freeze if for several months, but the consistency may change (extra moisture).