A smoky and potent dip: burnt eggplant with tahini

Burnt eggplant with tahiniMy current food obsession is “burning” fruit and vegetables. I bet you are scratching your head and wondering what is wrong with me and why I’m destroying perfectly good food. Actually, by exposing certain fruit and vegetables to open fire or high heat can actually intensify the taste or change the flavour profile. So next time, when you roast a chicken, put in some halved lemons. After roasting, you will realise the juice has transformed from one that is high in acidity to a mild sweet-sour liquid (which you can use to dress salad or squeeze over the roasted chicken).

When you start to “burn” your fruit and vegetables on a high heat, you are also giving them a smoky edge. Mild flavoured fruits like eggplant is a fantastic carrier of this robust flavour. When I first saw this burnt eggplant with tahini recipe from Yottam Ottolenghi’s Plenty, Ottolenghi described it as a potent dip. I thought he was exaggerating. And I was wrong. I was not prepared for what is to come.

By charring the eggplant, this fruit is transformed from bitter and bland to smoky with a hint of sweetness. With the addition of the tahini, it elevates the smoky profile further. I had the dip with baguette. At the first bite, I got hit by the smoky note and it lingered in my mouth and made me salivate further. And it is amazing that this is a pretty light dip – it is not overly rich and is in fact refreshing (thanks to the sliced cucumbers and lemon juice), hence I keep going back for more until my bowl is empty.


About Mandy Ng

Mandy’s journey into the culinary world began out of necessity–a means of survival whilst she was at university. She believes cooking should be simple and fun. Besides spending time in the kitchen whipping up hearty meals, Mandy also dreams of having a bottomless stomach that she can fill with all kinds of delicious things.