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
Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for direct high-heat grilling, or prepare a wood fire (here’s how).
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.
Meanwhile, whisk the tahini, lemon juice, salt, paprika and remaining 7 tablespoons olive oil in a large bowl.
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.
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.
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.
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.