To immerse yourself in Jordan, what could be better than learning Arabic cuisine! You can find ideas for tasty food and drinks here!

Let’s start our series “Jordanian cocktails and nibbles” with this week’s first episode: how to prepare moutabal, a delicious and indispensable mezze! 

Moutabal is part of the ‘ must haves’ that you discover in the Middle East: it forms part of the category  «  Arabic appetizers » If the name does not ring a bell, it is because you perhaps know it through its other names: baba ghanouj or in France as “caviar d’aubergines” ! In Israël it is known as Hatzilim.

It is part of an essential preparation of a much- liked vegetable. It is mixed with few ingredients that will transform everything into a delicious oriental dish: lemon juice, some tahini and coriander……

At the time of writing this article, the confinement due to Covid is still ongoing in many countries. So stay safe and get yourself to work in the kitchen and again as you prepare your trip to Jordan, treat yourself as you prepare this lovely Jordanian dish!  

A virtual journey/experience is nonetheless a journey of the heart and of the soul!

This post was translated by our friend Pallavi , from the original french version of our blog. Many thanks and thumbs up for her !  

Eggplant / Aubergine, the moutabal base

There are three types of eggplants, and it is originated in Asia. Then it went to Iran and after that it was cultivated in all of the Middle East and the Mediterranean. Round, oval, slightly elongated, big, small……

There are plenty of different types of aubergines.  It serves as a base for many recipes in the Arab world.

The small ones are often stuffed with rice, yoghurt or meat, the round ones are often seasoned to make pickles and the big ones are used for making moutabal!

 

Ingredients (serves 5-6 people)

  • 1 kg aubergines (this corresponds to 2-3 aubergines, and a bit more in Jordan as they are sometimes quite small)
  • 1/2 glass of lemon juice
  • 1/4 à 1/2 glass of Tahina (sesame paste), to adjust according to taste; 
  • 1 big clove of garlic peeled and crushed
  • ½ tsp salt according to taste
  • Some parsley, chopped
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar (optional)
  • A must: a pomegranate whose seeds will be used for garnishing. This adds an incredible tanginess to the flavor and gives it an extra zing!

Recipe

  1. Pre-heat the oven. Cut the aubergines into two. Prick the skin with a fork in order to spread the heat. Place them on a baking sheet and put them in the oven. Cooking time: 30 to 40 minutes at 200 degrees.
  2. Turn the aubergines around a few times while they are in the oven (personally, I do that 4 times every 10 minutes)
  3. Take the aubergines out and let them cool a little. Then remove their skin and put the pulp in a blender and mix. The texture depends on how you like it: smooth, or with small pieces…taste and adapt! Add Tahina and chopped parsley:
  4. Once the desired texture is obtained, mix the crushed garlic, lemon juice. Vinegar and salt;
  5. Arrange it in a large bowl. Pour a drizzle of olive oil.
  6. All that is left is to prepare the plate, season with parsley and decorate with pomegranate seeds; add sumac if you feel like.
  7. Serve cold, accompanied with pita bread and possibly hummous!
  8. Take a photo and send it to FamilyinJordan!

Here’s the result ! Send us by mail a photo of your own moutabal ! 🙂 

…Et bon appétit ! 

  • Gastronomy is just a means amongst others to know more about a country.  Please check out this section of the blog about culture, history, men and women of Jordan!
  • There are many different ways to cook moutabal. You can find another recipe on chef Ahmad’s kitchen YouTube channel ! 

familyinjordan

A family discovering Jordan and the world. Follow our blog on Jordan : nature, travel, culture and encounters is all we love :-)

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