Moutabel baba ghannouj is a spicy eggplant dish, aka aubergine or brinjal, which has proven cholesterol lowering properties. But it's so delicious I'd eat it any way!
I refuse to eat margarine, it tastes terrible and it's full of those hydrogenated oils that are so dangerous for your nerves. So there's that big toss up! Butter which is bad for your heart, but not bad for your nerves, or margarine that's bad for your nerves, and maybe, a big maybe, is less bad for your heart.
Remember that heart disease was almost unheard of until the last century, just about the time when the food companies in their wisdom started removing the wheat germ (with anti-coagulant vitamin E) from our bread and persuaded us to change from butter to margarine. Yes, heart disease continues to soar. True, stress arrived too in a big way.
Update: I wrote this page about five years ago. Just recently a huge
research project has come out, combining the 80 most important research
projects on the butter versus margarine controversy. And guess what? Butter is back.
That wheat germ? Why, it went into hog and chicken food!
Update: Read what a heart surgeon, veteran of more than five thousand open heart surgery has to say. Return to butter? Unthinkable! Foods to reduce inflammation ...
Compromise! Eat Moutabel Baba Ghannouj! ... also spelt Baba Ghanoush! Then you can enjoy some animal fats. (To be honest my blood cholesterol is dangerously low, not just because "she-who-must-be-obeyed" and I eat Moutabel every week. It's also because we love those delish, healthy foods you'll find at Healthy Living Tips every single day.What's so bad about HYDROGENATED FOODS ...
Eggplant is what the Americans call it; aubergine by the Europeans and brinjals the Indians. Take your pick, I use all three; they taste and look the same!
Many standard eggplant dishes like ratatouille aren't appreciated by folk. And you must use young, bright and shiny fruit, or they become bitter and nasty.
But moutabel baba ghannouj, with several different spellings, is definitely one of my favourites, and so easy to cook. Eggplant parmesan is another great way of cooking aubergine, but takes rather longer.
It's an amazingly good red meat substitute.
I timed it. Eight minutes. 8. Well, that's not quite true, I forgot the chilli, so the whole lot had to be blended again. So, eight plus one minute, but you wouldn't make that dumb mistake would you!
Eight minutes, that's all it takes, start to finish to make MOUTABEL Baba Ghannouj, from scratch.
Tahini is a paste made from toasted sesame seeds; it's absolutely delicious and healthy stuff. You can try making it yourself but I find that from the Turkish and Greek shops rather better; the roasting is a bit of an art. It's not expensive; keep in the fridge once opened.
I like tahini on bread and butter, instead of a peanut spread; it has a slightly bitter taste, and no sugar is added as in many other of the manufactured foods. Dip it in and mop up the juices in your salad; with the olive oil, lemon juice, or Balsamic vinegar it's superb.
But most of all I use tahini to make moutabel baba ghannouj and homemade hummus; we use it every single week without fail.
Many of the Middle Eastern stores purchase tahini in bulk from Lebanon or Turkey and decant it into bottles. It's a thick brown paste, not unlike peanut butter, only nicer in my opinion.
It's particular nutritional virtues include very healthy oleic acid that is used to make the fatty coating of most nerves, and two amino acids that are often difficult for vegans to get sufficient of; a deficiency of methionine or tryptophan causes a serious disease called kwashiorkor; it's common in poor countries, but all vegetarians, and especially their children, need to make sure they are getting enough.
Moutabel baba ghannouj is also known as aubergine in Europe; it has proven cholesterol lowering properties.
Oops, forgot the chilli! Roughly chop your aubergine in two halves. Place in an oven-proof dish. Add the little clove of garlic and microwave for five minutes.
Update @ Moutabel Baba Ghannouj - this weekend I put the eggplant on the grill with our recipe for sesame chicken and the moutabel is even more delic with a slightly smoky flavour. (Only two minutes in the microwave).
So, you've got five minutes to kill. Put on the kettle, for a cup of
tea. Peel one third of your lemon, pinch a few drops for your tea, and
keep the rest for a Tabouleh dish. Know the recipe for Tabouli Tabouleh?
Or perhaps some Hummus. That's a Chickpean Garbanzo bean dip that I
make EVERY week. Never miss... the basic ingredients of all these Middle Eastern dishes are parsley, tahini, olive oil and lemon.
Tea brewing? Right, wash the parsley, slice off the thicker stalks, and roughly chop. The blender will finish the job. Pitch your parsley into a bowl suitable for blending.
Peel one third of your lemon (or an orange), and add to your bowl. By now your Eggplant should be done. Using a sharp spoon, scrape out the cooked pulp and add to your bowl.
Normally, if I was you, I'd let your eggplant cool. I burnt my fingers, trying to beat ten minutes. Moutabel in ten minutes? Mmm, yes I was convinced it could be done. Can it?
Tip in the rest of your ingredients, and blend. Easy.
I did remember to keep back one sprig of parsley. But made another real boo-boo. I forgot the chilli, vital in MOUTABEL Baba Ghannouj!
So, back into the blending bowl, and another quick blend. Not too much chilli, unless you really like it hot. One slither is enough for us. Nine minutes, and I have my Moutabel.
I didn't count the time to clean the blender! But then I went
straight on and made a bowl of Olive pate. A bit of aubergine wouldn't
do any harm to my Olive pâté.
OLIVE PATE ... a purist? Okay, pâté. Olive pate is another on the list of our healthy foods, made fast. The only PT is depipping the olives. That takes a few minutes.
The only area where I stray from these traditional Lebanese, Greek, Turkish, and Italian dishes is using the lemon, pulp and all. The pith tends to be bitter, so avoid that, but also some of the zest of course.
When moving into a new home, tradition has it that you should, before anything else, plant a lemon or like tree; or better still one of each.
We now in fact have four lemon trees and one lime, and they all get used. They enrich the flavour of so many foods that would otherwise be bland and boring; and for the vitamin C and limonin, a very important phytochemical found in citrus.
It occurred to me some years ago that freshly squeezed orange juice and OJ taste quite different.
Research reveals they are in fact quite different. OJ out of a carton is not far short of a junk food, so it's no wonder they taste so different. It's utterly deficient in the important vitamins and minerals, and phytosterols that make up freshly squeezed orange juice.
I have no doubt the same applies to lemon juice too. NEVER by the way use concentrate lemon juice; it's full of chemicals, and tastes awful. So I use the lemon pulp too. You can't actually taste the difference in your moutabel baba ghannouj, but it's certainly healthier.
That OJ... the worst is that it is has an extremely high Glycemic Index. That means that it's very fattening and gives your pancreas a blood sugar rush.
Jup, I'm sure you guessed it. When I'm dealing all day with serious slipped disks, nasty ankle joint pain, a horrific frozen shoulder I have to be very disciplined, and it's done by the book.
I love cooking, but it's here that I let my hair down. I hate being disciplined and cornered by recipes. If I don't have a lemon, well, how about an orange. Forgot the chili, that's no big deal.
Baba ghannouj without a chilli is fantastic in its own right. No parsley? Mm,
I wonder how it would taste with a few slices of cucumber; or a leaf of lettuce or fresh coriander perhaps?
But the tahini? That I can't live without! At SESAME TAHINI ... you'll find a link to how to make your own tahini. Really so easy, at a tenth of the price.
You really do need one of these inexpensive little coffee grinders though for grinding your flax seeds (the best plant source of omega-3) and sesame seeds. Don't eat them whole, they have zero nutritional value if you don't grind them, they pass straight through and you risk getting them stuck in diverticuli...
The oil in sesame seed is great. Not as good perhaps as flaxseed perhaps, but keep focussing on eating from as wide a range of foods as possible. Sesame probably has other unknown advantages over flax. Like the flavour of sesame. Update: read how sesame lowers blood pressure. Proven. Sesame oil benefits ...
PS. If you have high blood pressure, and you missed it, go back to that How to make tahini page above. It's so easy. Perhaps you can get off those pills if your BP is only moderately raised.
Enjoy, have fun, blessings as you enjoy healthy, good, tasty food. Give McD and Kentucky F the miss. You can do it better, tastier, healthier, for a tenth of the price, and a 1000x more healthily in your own kitchen. Go for it! MOUTABEL Baba Ghannouj!
Ah, the other place I can let my hair down is by keeping my alter ego
busy. But the editor keeps complaining that I split my infinitives, and
I still don't know what that is! Here you can read the first chapter
from my next book of anecdotes from the Chiropractic Coalface. Take a
tour through Holland: STONES IN MY CLOG ... it's available for only
$2.99 on your Kindle, tablet or smartphone, guaranteed hilarious fun, or your money back.
STONES IN MY CLOG...
I cover many conditions in Stones in my Clog, pains like SLIPPED DISK ... an everyday condition at the Chiropractic Coalface, but also ANKLE JOINT PAIN ... courtesy of the most dangerous stairs in the world, for which the Dutch along with Rembrandt and tulips are famous, and probably the most painful condition treated in my clinic, a Frozen shoulder ...
Always something bizarre, funny and occasionally tragic. These are fun stories, great bedside reading, one chapter a night. Gems, healthy and funny from the life and work of a chiropractor.
Tip: you need the free Kindle app to read Stones in my Clog, or my latest book A Family Affair on your smartphone.
Nutritious living tips page is for those who have the desire to reach a vital eighty years, with their marbles and joints intact, and taking a minimum of medication.
Not only want these things, but are prepared to initiate some changes in their lifestyle.
For example, taking a brisk 30 minute walk at least three times a week. Don't have the time, or couldn't be bothered? Well, sorry, don't expect to be celebrating your eightieth.
Is that too blunt coming from your chiropractic help guru? Find someone else who has soothing words for you. He's just a click away.
Starting with simple and quick changes like making moutabel baba ghannouj is the way to begin; or perhaps our quick hummus recipe. Or just an apple a day.
USEFUL LINKS @ MOUTABEL Baba Ghannouj
At Healthy Living Tips you'll find the reason we take no drugs at all, NONE!, haven't lost our marbles (yet!) and we're feeling younger, and working a darn side harder at 68 than we did at 30! SLOW FOOD, MADE FAST is our slogan.
Well, yes, I should also give my regular Chiropractic adjustment some credit, I guess, but there I have a vested interest and so you wouldn't believe me...
And my bicycle, he gets credit too. It's a rare day I'm not on the bike and if this crazy Dutchman gets in a car once a month it's a lot! That I don't miss one iota. Now my motor-bike, that's another story... I miss ancient BMW like crazy!
Have a good morning, make someone's day, say a prayer or two... thank you Jesus, life's good. Lonely road of faith ...