A lesser known mezze platter dip made from eggplants is either moutabal or babaganoush. And there is always a confusion between the two – and only those from the region, or closely connected seem to know the difference – and most of these differences depend on whom you ask.
While both have a roasted eggplant as the prime ingredient, their tastes and textures are different. A traditional moutabal has tahini, yogurt and garlic with the eggplant, and is slightly smoother. Babaganoush has pomegranate molasses, tomatoes, onions and parsley and has more of a choppy texture to it.
In both recipes, the eggplant has a beautiful aromatic smoky taste, which can be achieved by only one way – open flame roasting. The skin burns up, leaving the inside flesh softened, and is scooped out easily. Once the eggplant has cooled, gently peel off the skin and mash well with a fork.
My version of moutabal with tahini borrows tomatoes and onions from the babaganoush. Instead of molasses, I opt for the pomegranate gems to garnish on top.