Baba ghanoush

Baba Ghanoush, Delfshaven

Baba ghanoush is a delicious eggplant dish that is so easy to prepare; in Mediterranean countries it is called an aubergine. In South Africa it is known as a brinjal. Would a rose smell any different if you gave it another name?

We enjoyed this magnificent dish a few months ago at a tiny Lebanese restaurant, sitting alongside an ancient quay in Rotterdam. I had not enjoyed it for a while, so of course we asked the good hostess, and here are her ingredients.

Moutabel baba ghanoush is a spicy version enjoyed throughout the Middle East; add some jalapeno or your favourite chili.

You are unlikely to be able to purchase it at your local supermarket, and of necessity it would be loaded with preservatives; let us get back to the food that granny would have cooked is our advice. Yes, it does take time; all of eight minutes.

  1. One medium sized eggplant.
  2. One third of a peeled lemon, pulp and all, minus the pips.
  3. A couple tablespoons of Sesame Tahini. What's that?
  4. One or two cloves of garlic.
  5. Parsley; be generous.
  6. Olive oil.
  7. Salt and pepper.

This is her baba ghannoush, made with white aubergine which I cannot get, and I suspect are less nutritious than the purple variety, anyway.

Delfshaven, Rotterdam

Baba ghanoush

Baba ghanoush is made from eggplant which is known for its cholesterol lowering properties; it also has a sesame paste which is rich in lignans, the phytochemical known for its anti breast cancer properties

With one in eight women getting it, breast cancer and prevention should be an issue in every family. We used to get our lignans from 100% wholemeal flour, but since the millers started cheating on labeling, it's virtually impossible to get. One easy solution is tahini, the other freshly ground flax seeds.

The more difficult solution is your own electric flour mill and a determination to bake your own wholemeal bread every day; that takes me only five minutes each morning. Five hours later you have a wonderful loaf, just fantastic smeared with baba ghanoush.

How to prepare your Baba Ghanoush.

Method 1 can be made in under ten minutes.

  1. Wash your eggplant. Choose only bright, shiny firm fruit, otherwise your baba ghanoush will be bitter and horrid.
  2. Peel one garlic clove.
  3. Slice the eggplant in half and place it together with the garlic clove in an oven dish in the microwave for five minutes.
  4. Meantime, slice a quarter of a lemon and add to a mixing bowl together with
  5. Two tablespoons of sesame tahini.
  6. A good slosh of olive oil.
  7. A dash of salt and pepper.
  8. Scrape the eggplant pulp out of it's skin and add to the mixing bowl.
  • I like to add a little yoghurt or kefir curds but that's my variation.
  • Add a couple sprigs of parsley, stalk and all.
  • Use a stick blender to liquidise the eggplant, tahini, olive oil and parsley mixture.
  • Sprinkle with parsley and dribble with more olive oil.
  • It takes me 8 minutes.

The second method of preparing baba ghanoush takes rather longer; somewhere approaching an hour, but it's rather nicer as it has the flavour of the barbecue.

  • Wash your eggplant to remove any herbicides from the skin.
  • If you have access to gas or barbecue, spike your eggplant with a fork and flame it for several minutes.
  • Or alternatively, wrap your eggplant in aluminium foil and leave it over the coals until cooked through; probably about three quarters of an hour.
Cholesterol lowering eggplant
  • Force the lightly blanched cloves of garlic into the slits in your baba ganoush. If you prefer your garlic raw, add half a raw clove later with the lemon juice.
  • Place the eggplant on a baking dish, and pop it alongside another dish like roast chicken for about 30 to 45 minutes depending on size in a hot oven. It should be quite soft.
  • Chop the cooked eggplant into smaller chunks and drop them into your liquidiser. Or, cut your eggplant in half, and scoop out the pith and discard the skin. It will look darker but tastes just the same.
  • Chop and blend with the lemon and a good slosh of olive oil.
  • Add the garlic and the tahini and a little salt and pepper, and several large sprigs of fresh parsley, and blend to a paste. NB. Eggplant has a subtle lovely flavour. Do not overpower it with too much garlic or lemon.
  • Pour into a small bowl, and garnish with more olive oil, parsley and the sliced paprika or other salads, and olives.
  • Of course, there are a 101 variations. I like to add a couple tablespoons of yoghurt. Even omit the tahini if you can't get it; God forbid you live in a country where you cannot get this sesame paste; I would immediately emigrate. Seriously, it is easy to make from basic principles, though more expensive and in my opinion not as toasty.
  • Another excellent variation is to cook your aubergine on a barbecue. The taste of the smoke adds a delicious tang.
  • Sliced cucumber and shallots; lekker as they would say in South Africa or eet smakelijk as we now exclaim in Holland.

Sprinkle your baba ghanoush with some ground sunflower seeds or freshly cracked pecan nuts.

Enjoy your Baba Ganoush; it will keep in the fridge for a few days, but as with all home cooking finish it as soon as possible. Experiment with your side dishes and tailor them to your own tastes. Make it the way you like it. It makes a great spread on your lunch sandwiches, or with a green salad.

If you ever visit Holland, make sure you don't miss Delfshaven in Rotterdam. It's about the only part of the old harbour that the Stukas missed in WW2. It is a treat. Look out for the tiny Lebanese restaurant.

Keep looking for more eggplant recipes. There are many ways to cook this so-called functional food; it has many virtues that promote well-being and prevent disease.

Eggplant should be on your menu at least once a week when they're in season, and none is easier to make than baba ghanoush.

Eggplant

There are different spellings of baba ghanoush.


Sesame tahini

Sesame tahini is much nicer than peanut butter, with a slightly nutty, bitter flavour; after the eggplant the second most important ingredient in baba ghanoush.

Ground sesame seeds makes a delicious paste called tahini, not unlike peanut butter, only nicer in my opinion. Sesame Tahini is found in many traditional Mediterranean dishes like baba ghanoush, not just for its flavour, but because it provides certain amino acids, often deficient in many vegetarian diets. 

Make Tahini is not difficult; all you need is a cheap coffee grinder, available from Amazon for around $15, and a bulk source of sesame seeds for which you may have to hunt; frankly though, the people of the Mediterranean have been doing it for centuries, and I prefer to buy it; unlike most Western foods it is not highly processed. 

What are phytosterols?

What are phytosterols is a vital question to grasp; they are plant compounds with a structure very similar to animal origin cholesterol of animal origin; they compete with it for absorption. They have proven cholesterol lowering properties. They are present in all plant foods, but are particularly rich in the sesame seed extract in baba ghanoush.

They have proven protective properties against prostatitis; men in particular should be eating phytosterol rich foods like baba ghanoush on a daily basis. Another particular good source is the avocado.

  • Are you tired of all these vegetable dishes? Our favourite mutton stew; it will lower your cholesterol.
  • Do you know what are phytosterols? Suffering from prostatitis? They reduce the inflammation and swelling. Dinkum; it is scientifically proven. 
  • Lonely road of faith ... The struggle.
  • HEALTHY LIVING TIPS …

Inherent versus acquired tastes

Scientists tell us that mother's milk is the only inherent taste; all the rest are acquired.

Continually feed your child sugary foods and soon he or she will acquire the taste; everything must be sweet or the little fellow will spit it out. Feed him chips every day, and soon he will want nothing else.

Eggplant too is an acquired taste; if at the first meal it doesn't appeal, don't give up on it. You will soon gain a liking for it.

There's an important principle here; we don't just eat foods that we like and taste delicious. If we did that we would soon be deficient in many important phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals. Who eats kale for its fantastic flavour? Avoid it and you're likely to get age onset macular degeneration. Five million Americans are blind for exactly that reason.

We need to persist a little with ourselves and our children; by and large we can acquire the taste of most foods. Having said that, New Zealand spinach I cannot abide.

World's healthiest foods

World's healthiest foods is one of my favourite sites; well researched, it cuts between opinion and fact when it comes to food. At eggplant you can read about the research done on this wonderful fruit; you'll be convinced of the virtues of this magnificent food; we call it an aubergine in Holland; it's the main ingredient in baba ghanoush.

Healthy choice foods

Healthy choice foods are probably even more important than having your subluxations cleared; my colleagues would crucify me for saying it; baba ghanoush is part of the deal.

Fortunately it's not an either or. You can have a functionally healthy spine and enjoy healthy choice foods leading to a long and fulfilling life, not terminated midstream.

Both mean a willingness to change; your chiropractor needs your help by doing your exercises faithfully, otherwise your subluxations will return next week. And you need to consider ways of getting off the black and white diet, meat and potatoes, and that means considering new foods like baba ghanoush and tahini, and flax seeds and all the coloured fruit and vegetable at our disposal. Eggplant recipes should be one of them.

Chiropractic Help

Why all this about baba ghanoush on a chiropractic help site you may well ask. Actually it's rather simple. There is strong research showing that lumbar arteries clogged with cholesterol have a much higher incidence of lower back pain. The damaged tissue simply does not get enough oxygen to heal properly.

The spine is very much dependent on healthy arterial and venous networks able to bring fresh nutrients and oxygen to the site of injury, and remove waste products of metabolism. Hence the emphasis at Chiropractic Help on ways and means to lower your cholesterol without the use of nasty statins.

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Interesting challenges of the day

1. Mr S is a 76 year old man with neck pain of some 9 months duration. Luckily, most of the discomfort is upper cervical which is only rarely arthritic; his lower cervical spine is a degenerative mess that I've left alone. After seven treatments his pain and stiffness is 50 percent better, and he's happy in the circumstances. He can sleep through the night now and that makes a huge difference.

2. Mr P is 32 year old man with very severe lower back pain radiating to the big toe which is 30 percent numb. He had an episode three weeks ago, took anti inflammatories and was soon better as is typical of the medial disc herniation. But before it healed, after a trivia it came roaring back, much worse. The characteristic crossed sign was evident; sitting in a chair, straightening the right leg provoked severe left back pain and tingling in the leg. He's doing well.

3. Severe lower back pain is scary; just ask Mrs P. Just watching her get out of the car I she was in trouble; she had a slipped disc at L4 making her lean towards the opposite side; luckily she had no pain in the leg. Despite family pressure that this was far too severe for a chiropractor, she persevered. Within five days she was standing upright, and after two weeks almost painfree. 

Despite a hectic job, she wisely took my advice and stayed home for what I call exercising bed rest.

4. Mr S has had lower back, groin and back of thigh and calf pain for fourth months.

He has a pincer deformity in the hip causing the stabs in the groin, and a degenerative facet causing the sciatica. Both are responding well to chiropractic and he's well pleased; sixty five percent better after three treatments.

5. Mr T is a wise man; he's taken a warning TIA seriously and has lost 15 pounds, and has at least as much again to lose. A change to a low starch diet and half hour daily walk has made the difference; but the walking is making his foot and back miserable. The expensive orthotic is hopeless; luckily his hips and back are fine, but he needs a simple heel lift.

6. I too have had serious lower back issues, luckily fixed by my own chiropractor; so I too have to do my exercises, take care when lifting supers full of honey, gardening and using the chainsaw. Regaining the function of your spine is just as important as the pain.

7. My own granddaughter, only 7 is hypermobile giving her pelvic, knee and ankle issues. Xrays show a mildly dysplastic hip. Years ago we would have called it growing pains. She too regularly needs chiropractic care and luckily responds well. Increased range of motion is more difficult than too stiff in my opinion. Our care is for kids too.

8. This 65 year old lady is a serious gardener; every day she is bending, lifting and digging for 2 to 3 hours a day. It regularly catches her in the sacroiliac joint, so she has a treatment once a month that sorts it out. She does her lower back exercises faithfully.

9. This 88 year old lady is an inspiration; every day she is busy in the community. With a nasty scoliosis she manages very well with a chiropractic adjustment every six weeks and exercises faithfully done.  

10. Mr X is a 71 year old retired man who wants to continue with maintenance care every six to eight weeks; he had suffered from two years of lower back pain when he first came a year ago. He has no discomfort now after 8 chiropractic treatments, but is aware that danger lurks.

11. Mrs C has been having severe headaches, and taking a lot of analgesics. It's a non complicated upper cervical facet syndrome, and she's doing well.

12. Mr D is a 38 old year man with chronic shoulder pain after a rotator cuff tear playing cricket. It responded well to treatment, but he knows he must do his exercises every day; for two years he couldn't sleep on that shoulder.

13. Mr D, a 71 year old man, has a severe ache in the shoulder and midback since working above his head. Trapped nerve tests are negative but he has advanced degenerative joints of Luschka; after just two treatments he is 50 percent better. Can we reach 90?

And so the day goes; chiropractors shouldn't be treating the elderly most medical sites state but that's so much bunkum.



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Interesting questions from visitors

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You helped me quite some time back with a soothing and professional response which turned out to be exactly correct. I now consult a local chiropractor. You write a superb newsletter, too.

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Knowing that up to 70% of the time the correct diagnosis is made with no examination, no special tests, no xrays, but just from the history, there's a fair chance I can add some insight to your unresolved problem. But at least 30% of the time, I may be quite wrong! Give plenty of detail if you want a sensible reply.


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