Diyarbakır Babaganuç: Baba ghanoush with eggs?

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WHAT'S SPECIAL

The Mediterranean and Middle Eastern regions have a wide variety of dishes but through centuries of interaction dishes that have the same name, maybe even the same ancestors become something completely different from their original.

What is Diyarbakır Babaganuç?

As the name suggests this baba ghanoush is a specialty to the southeastern region of Diyarbakır and consists of eggplants, peppers, butter, eggs and garlic. The more traditional baba ghanoush known in the region includes eggplants, olive oil and tahini, plus other ingredients depending on the recipe.

Jump to Recipe

The origins

Baba ghanoush is the result of the popularity of mashed salads in the region and the arrival of the eggplant through India to Arabia to the Persians and Turks to the rest of the world. The origin of the now popularized dish is said to be Lebanon, (1) but exact recipe sources are scarce. Some other sources pin it closer to Syrian but state that the modern Tunisian version is closer to the medieval version, thanks to the addition of vinegar in the mashed dip. (2)

One of the earliest recipes is from Baghdad in 1226, describing the preparation of baba ghanoush and hummus. (3)

But as mentioned in the introduction the lines get blurred with the dish spreading further and further through time and the region. (4) One such example would be the name for the dish “Alinazik”, an eggplant dish that involves yogurt and is topped with meat called “baba annüç” in the southern province Adana’s Çukurova district. (5) The dish has nothing to do with the baba ghanoush except for the barbequed eggplant part of the dish, but yet it is referred to as such.

The Diyarbakır version of this dish involves butter rather than olive oil due to the simple fact of availability. Herding of the animals made butter a better and cheaper source of fat than the Mediterranean one. The same goes for tahini.

Etymology

Babaganuç, baba annüç, baba ghanoush, baba ghanouj are but some of the many ways this dish is known as. The baba part means “father”, but is used as a term of endearment as well, most likely referring to the eggplant as such. The ghanoush part is nebulous in origin, probably stemming from a personal name. (6) The Arabic version of the dish is referred to as Mutabbal or M’tabbal, Moutabbal.

The recipe

Like mentioned before there are a slew of recipes for this dish but the Diyarbakır version is a head turner.

Diyarbakır Babaganuç: Baba ghanoush with eggs?

The Mediterranean and Middle Eastern regions have a wide variety of dishes but through centuries of interaction dishes that have the same name, maybe even the same ancestors become something completely different from their original.

Ingredients

  • 1 kg eggplants
  • 1-2 green peppers
  • 1-2 eggs
  • 1,5 tbsp butter
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • salt

Instructions

  • Grill the eggplants over a fire and peel them.
  • Let the excess fluids drip off and mash them in a bowl as smoothly as possible.
  • Slightly grill the green peppers as well and remove the skin.
  • Mash those together with the garlic.
  • Melt the butter on a pan and crack in the eggs and cook them like you would an omelet
  • Add the mashed ingredients to the eggs and continue mixing it until all is fully incorporated.
  • Serve on a plate and drizzle any remaining fat from the pan over it.

Notes

Bibliography
(1) Gil Marks, Encyclopedia of Jewish Food, 2010
(2) Lilia Zaouali, Medieval cuisine of the Islamic world, 2007
(3) Linda Civitello, Cuisine & Culture - A History of Food and People, 2004
(4) Kenneth F. Kiple, Kriemhild Coneè Ornelas (edited), The Cambridge World History Of Food, 2000
(5) Mehtap Çivioğlu, Alinazik (Gaziantep) in Kentler ve İmgesel Yemekler 2, 2006
(6) Oxford Dictionaries
 
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Turkish
Keyword: Baba ghanoush, Turkish
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