Baba ghanoush, via the microwave

Eggplant and the microwave are as happy as peaches and cream. Big, bold, shiny, hard to cook by conventional methods, and full of water: eggplant is just the combination this space-age machine delights in. Just prick the vegetable a few times with a fork, shove it through the door, and what do you have? Absolutely perfect eggplant, firm yet soft, cooked through yet holding its own, ideal in colour, texture and flavour.

And remarkably, it has no need of the salt dredgings which come with usual cooking processes. Don’t ask me why.

Cooking eggplant like this means you can have that delicious Middle Eastern dip, baba ghanoush, as quick as a flash.

2 eggplants, about 350g each, stem attached — Eggplants should be firm and glossy.

1-2 cloves garlic, unpeeled

2 soup spoons tahini, the paste made from sesame seeds

juice of 1 lemon

1 teaspoon salt

½ – 1 chilli, chopped finely

1 teaspoon ground cumin

½ cup first quality virgin olive oil

handful of parsley, stems removed

black pepper


Prick the eggplants all over with a fork, put on a plate, and cook in the microwave on high for 6–10 minutes, depending on the power of the machine. You will know when the vegetables are done when they are tender to the touch and the skin has changed colour from deep purple-black to purple-green-brown.


Allow the eggplants to cool, then peel while you cook the garlic. The eggplant skin will come away easily, like an orange peel. Put the garlic on a plate and cook in the microwave very quickly, about 1 minute. You will know when it’s done when the kitchen is filled with the sweet aroma of garlic. Don’t let it overcook, or it will shrivel into nothing.


Allow the garlic to cool and then squeeze the bulb from the skin.


Mash the eggplant and garlic together, then whizz with the tahini, lemon juice, salt, chilli, cumin and finally the olive oil. Whizz until it has become a thick puree/dip.


Chop the parsley quite roughly and work it through the dip. Serve with Middle Eastern bread. Goes well with steak, veal, chicken, and is a hoot with fried sardines.

2 Responses to “Baba ghanoush, via the microwave”

  1. [...] a delightful seafood restaurant in Melbourne, is sardines with baba ghanoush, that marvellous Middle Eastern dip of eggplant and tahini. Just cook the sardines as per recipe: Sardines fried very simply, with lemon juice (or fry them in [...]

  2. Linda says:

    Dear Geoff,
    Your baba ganoush recipe was recently given to me by a friend. It was a saved cutting from The Age some years ago now. I made it and it is a cracker of a recipe, simple enough to make but complex in taste. Why would you ever buy a dip? Making that recipe had me returning to your recipe book Simple Flavours. I read it cover to cover, a joy to read, so quite a coincidence to come across your web site. I have cooked many of your recipes over the years, many of which are firm favourites, the new york chocolate puddings – for one. It feels like you are part of my kitchen so I am really pleased I stumbled across your web site.