Mutabal – Middle Eastern eggplant dip recipe

Mutabal, a delicious Middle Eastern dip, is enjoyed worldwide and is a big favorite in our household. Surprisingly easy to make with just four basic ingredients, it’s a great addition to a family dinner or a family gathering. Let me show you how to make it.

The post has extra tips to make sure the recipe comes out amazing on your first try. If you're in a rush, use the link above to jump to the recipe card at the end! 👩‍🍳🔝
mutabal, roasted eggplant dip on a flat plate served with fresh cilantro

Mutabal – Arabic Eggplant

Creamy and full of smoky flavor, this Middle Eastern eggplant dip is known by many names: mutabal, baba ghanoush, salat hatzilim, or patlıcan ezmesi. Regardless of the name, they all have one thing in common – they’re incredibly delicious. Serve them with chicken shawarma or lamb kebabs with warm pita bread on the side and enjoy a tasty and nourishing dinner.

This Arrabic eggplant dip is prepared in various ways depending on its origin. Some variations include tahini, while others incorporate pomegranate molasses. However, all versions share the nice smoky flavor of roasted eggplant.

This mutabal recipe is a Turkish variation of this popular dip and is adapted from one of my favorite cookbooks ISTANBUL by Rebecca Seal.

Ingredients for Mutabal

To make this delicious Middle Eastern dip we will need only a few simple ingredients:

ingredients needed to make mutabal

Ingredient notes

  • Eggplants (aubergines): Choose nice big eggplants that are firm and have beautiful shiny skin.
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Garlic cloves
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Fresh parsley or cilantro leaves to serve (optional)
  • Pomegranate seeds to serve (optional)

The full list of ingredients can be found in the recipe card below 👇

Charred eggplant 

This eggplant dip is made with charred eggplant, and there is no way around it. To achieve the taste of an authentic Middle Eastern dip, we have to char the eggplant. Luckily, it is easier than you might think, and I will show you a couple of ways you can do it. Choose the method that you feel most comfortable with.

How to char eggplant on a gas stove

If you decide to char the eggplant on the gas stove, follow these steps:

  • Place a sheet of aluminum foil around the gas burner to protect the stove from any drips.
  • Rinse the eggplants and pat them dry. Leave the eggplant whole without slicing or cutting. Prick the eggplant skin with a sharp knife a couple of times.
a eggplant on a gas stove.

STEP 1: Put the eggplant directly on the open flame and cook it for 15-20 minutes, turning it frequently to avoid burning. Use long kitchen tongs.

eggplant charred on the gas stove.

The eggplant is cooked when its skin turns black, and the eggplant’s flesh collapses. Once cooked carefully place eggplants onto a plate and allow them to cool and drain.

How to char eggplant in the oven

By far the easiest way to char the eggplant is the oven option. To make the smoky eggplant dip in the oven, follow these steps:

  • Turn the oven up to the highest setting and turn on the broiler (grill) function.
  • Rinse the eggplants and pat them dry. Leave the eggplant whole without slicing or cutting. Prick the eggplant skin with a sharp knife a couple of times.
  • Place the whole eggplants on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Do not use parchment paper it will burn.
  • Cook the eggplants for 20 minutes, making sure to turn them around multiple times during cooking to avoid burning. Use long kitchen tongs.
  • Once the eggplants are charred, take them out of the oven and let them cool down and drain for at least 20 minutes.

How to char eggplant on the outdoor grill 

You can also cook your eggplant on the outdoor grill, it is a great way to get some real smokiness to the eggplant. 

  • Preheat your outdoor grill to medium-high heat.
  • Rinse the eggplants and pat them dry. Leave the eggplant whole without slicing or cutting. Prick the eggplant skin with a sharp knife a couple of times.
  • Place the whole eggplants directly on the grill grates. Grill for 15-20 minutes, turning them occasionally to ensure even charring. The eggplants are done when their skin becomes black all around, and the flesh has collapsed.
  • Once the eggplants are charred, take them out, let them cool down, and drain for at least 20 minutes.

How to make Mutabal

Now that we have our eggplants perfectly charred, let’s make the dip.

eggplant cut in halves.

STEP 1: Place charred eggplants on a chopping board. Cut them in half lengthways, and using a spoon scoop out the cooked eggplant flesh, avoiding the black charred skin.

charred eggplant in a glass bowl.

STEP 2: Place the eggplant flesh into a medium bowl and add minced garlic, freshly squeezed lemon juice, fresh herbs, and a sprinkle of sea salt.

STEP 3: Using a fork, gently mash the eggplant, mixing it with the other ingredients. You can leave it quite chunky or make it into a smooth dip, depending on your preference.

STEP 4: Arrange the dip on a serving plate, and sprinkle some pomegranate seeds and a splash of extra virgin olive oil on top before serving.

Expert Tips:

If you didn’t get enough smoky flavor in your eggplants, you can enhance it by adding half a teaspoon of smoked paprika.

Variations:

  • Spicy Kick: Add a pinch of cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes to the dip for a spicy kick. Adjust the amount based on your heat preference.
  • Red bell pepper: Not a fan of eggplant but still reading the recipe? Make it using red bell peppers (capsicum).

How to serve Mutabal

Traditionally in Middle Eastern restaurants, mutabal is served as a part of a mezze platter, along with an array of other small dishes, such as cacik, tabbouleh and so on. But mutabal is incredibly versatile and can be served as a dip with pita bread, crackers, or fresh veggies. It can also be used as a spread in sandwiches, wraps, or as a flavorful topping for grilled chicken or lamb, and salads.

mIddle Eastern Eggplant dip served with fresh cilantro on a plate on a wooden chopping board

❄️ How to Store

Refrigerate:

If you happen to have any leftovers of this delicious dip, just transfer it into an airtight container or a mason jar and place it in the refrigerator. It will keep well for 3-4 days, ensuring you can continue to enjoy its wonderful flavors.

Freeze it:

If you would like to freeze mutabal, use a freezer-safe container and store it for up to 3 months. Upon defrosting, you might notice some excess liquid, which is perfectly normal. Give it a gentle stir with a spoon to incorporate everything, and it will be ready to be enjoyed once again!

mutabal, Middle Eastern smoked eggplant dip on a round plate served with cilantro leaves

Mutabal – Middle Eastern Smoked Eggplant Dip

Elena Elliott
Mutabal is a delicious Middle Eastern eggplant dip that is bursting with Middle Eastern flavors. It is made with chared eggplants, aromatic herbs and fresh garlic. Learn how to easily make mutabal at home. A versatile dip for dipping, spreading, or enjoying as a flavorful snack.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Cooling 20 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Dip
Cuisine Middle eastern
Servings 8 Servings

Ingredients
  

  • 2 large firm eggplants
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh herbs such as cilantro (coriander) or parsley Or use both
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup pomegarnate seeds to garnish optional

Instructions
 

How to char eggplants on the gas stove

  • Place a sheet of aluminum foil around the gas burner to protect the stove from any drips.
    Rinse the eggplants and pat them dry. Leave the eggplant whole without slicing or cutting. Prick the eggplant skin with a sharp knife a couple of times.
    Put the eggplant directly on the open flame and cook it for around 15-20 minutes, turning it frequently to avoid burning. Use long kitchen tongs.
    The eggplant is cooked when its skin turns black all around, and the eggplant flesh has collapsed.
    Carefully place eggplants onto a plate and allow them to cool and drain.

How to char eggplants in the oven

  • Turn the oven up to the highest setting and turn on the broiler (grill) function.
    Rinse the eggplants and pat them dry. Leave the eggplant whole without slicing or cutting. Prick the eggplant skin with a sharp knife a couple of times.
    Place the whole eggplants on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Do not use parchment paper it will burn.
    Cook the eggplants for 20 minutes, making sure to turn them around multiple times during cooking to avoid burning. Use long kitchen tongs.
    Once the eggplants are charred, take them out of the oven and let them cool down and drain for at least 20 minutes.

How to char eggplants on the outside grill

  • Preheat your outdoor grill to medium-high heat.
    Rinse the eggplants and pat them dry. Leave the eggplant whole without slicing or cutting. Prick the eggplant skin with a sharp knife a couple of times.
    Place the whole eggplants directly on the grill grates. Grill for about 15-20 minutes, turning them occasionally to ensure even charring. The eggplants are done when their skin becomes black all around, and the flesh has collapsed.
    Once the eggplants are charred, take them out and let them cool down and drain for at least 20 minutes.

Bring it all together

  • Place charred eggplants on a chopping board. Cut them in half lengthways, and using a spoon, scoop out the cooked eggplant flesh while avoiding the black charred skin.
  • Place the eggplant flesh into a medium bowl and add minced garlic, freshly squeezed lemon juice, fresh herbs, and a sprinkle of sea salt.
    Using a fork, gently mash the eggplant, mixing it with the other ingredients. You can leave it quite chunky or make it into a smooth dip, depending on your preference.
  • Arrange the dip on a serving plate, and sprinkle some pomegranate seeds and a splash of extra virgin olive oil on top before serving.

Notes

If you didn’t get enough smoky flavor in your eggplants, you can enhance it by adding half a teaspoon of smoked paprika.
Storage Instructions:
If you have any leftover dip, transfer it to an airtight container or mason jar and refrigerate for up to 3-4 days.
For freezing, use a freezer-safe container and store for up to 3 months. Upon defrosting, gently stir to incorporate any excess liquid before enjoying.

Nutritional Information:

Amount Per Serving
calories 107
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 4 g 6 %
Saturated Fat 1 g 3 %
Monounsaturated Fat 3 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg 0 %
Sodium 38 mg 2 %
Potassium 220 mg 6 %
Total Carbohydrate 19 g 6 %
Dietary Fiber 4 g 17 %
Sugars 9 g  
Protein 1 g 3 %
Vitamin A 3 %
Vitamin C 8 %
Calcium 1 %
Iron 4 %
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.
Keyword eggplant dip, mutabal
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5 from 2 votes (1 rating without comment)

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