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Food

Simple tricks for the most delicious eggplant dip

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You can spoon the chutney and yogurt on top in a single layer or drop it in small dollops.
(Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)

Complex layers of flavor come together in this easy recipe. In this smoky eggplant dip inspired by baba ghanouj, Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten grates raw ginger on top to add a fresh, surprising heat. Dollops of a spiced and tangy tomato chutney bring a subtly sweet richness and coconut yogurt lends a cooling creaminess. White and Japanese eggplants taste sweeter than large Italian eggplants and cook more quickly. You can use whichever variety you prefer and pull them from the grill whenever they’re done. For the chutney, you can buy chaat masala online or at Indian grocery stores.

Smoky Eggplant Dip With Ginger and Tomato Chutney

30 minutes. Makes 3 cups.

8 large garlic cloves, peeled
7 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more
1 ½ pounds eggplant (about 1 large Italian and 4 slender Japanese)
⅓ cup tahini
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
4 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more

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1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 inches fresh ginger, peeled
¼ cup unsweetened coconut yogurt
½ cup tomato chutney (recipe follows)
Flaky sea salt and fresh mint leaves, to garnish

1 Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for direct high-heat grilling, or prepare a wood fire (here’s how).

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2 Toss the garlic with 1 teaspoon oil and put on a small steel baking pan or on a double layer of heavy-duty foil. If using foil, fold up the sides to create a little tray. Place the garlic tray and whole eggplants on the hot grill grate or nestle them in the burning wood (see sidebar). Cook the garlic, turning occasionally, until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Cook the eggplant, turning occasionally, until blackened all over and starting to collapse, about 7 minutes for small or slender eggplants and 15 minutes for a large one. Remove the garlic tray from the fire and transfer the eggplant to a cutting board and let cool slightly.

3 Meanwhile, whisk the tahini, lemon juice, salt, paprika and remaining 7 tablespoons olive oil in a large bowl.

4 When cool enough to handle, split the eggplant in half lengthwise. Use a spoon to scoop the flesh, without any charred skin, into the bowl. Mince the garlic and fold it into the eggplant. Season to taste with salt.

5 Transfer the dip to a large, shallow serving bowl. Use a Microplane zester to grate the ginger directly on top of the dip, covering the surface. Dollop the coconut yogurt and tomato chutney on top, then drizzle with more olive oil. Sprinkle with sea salt and garnish with mint.

Make ahead
The eggplant dip can be refrigerated in an airtight container without any toppings for up to 1 week.

Tomato Chutney

30 minutes. Makes about 2 cups.

⅔ cup sunflower or other neutral-flavored vegetable oil
⅔ cup fresh lime juice
1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes or 2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
2 large Fresno chiles, seeded, chopped

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2 inches fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
3 large garlic cloves, chopped
2 tablespoons coconut sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more
2 tablespoons unsweetened finely shredded dried coconut
2 teaspoons chaat masala

1 Combine the oil, lime juice, tomatoes, chiles, ginger, garlic, coconut sugar and salt in a large saucepan. Set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Continue boiling, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is jammy and reduced by half, about 25 minutes. Be careful as the mixture will splatter while it cooks.

2 Transfer the mixture to a blender and add the coconut and chaat masala. Blend until almost smooth. Transfer to a serving bowl and season to taste with salt.

Make ahead
The chutney can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 week.


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