A short, but yummy stint in Doha
A few years ago, my family’s expat adventure took an interesting turn and landed us in Doha, Qatar for about 9 months. It was our shortest stint in a foreign country, though we did not know that it would be so brief when we agreed to go. Our previous assignment in South Korea had been 5 years long and we assumed that we would be in our new home for at least 2 years (as was customary with my husband’s company). Qatar is a small country though, and now that we have moved away, we feel that we got everything out of the experience that we wanted.
My absolute favorite thing about living in the Middle East was the food. We could have literally any food we wanted, quickly delivered right to our door. From McDonald’s and Chili’s to Iranian, Ethiopian, Indian or Chinese foods- you name it, and it was there in a half hour. It was inexpensive as well, so my family took advantage and ordered frequently. We also dined out often, sampling Lebanese breakfast food (olives and cheesy flatbread, anyone?) or kofta and kibbeh followed by a relaxing shisha session.
When our 9-month sojourn came to an end, we had done all our dune-bashing (video below), mall wandering and exploring and felt like we saw everything Qatar had to offer. I seriously doubt that we tasted everything they had to offer though. In a country where the locals were the minority and expats from countries all over the world resided, we could have gone on for years feasting on and being inspired by authentic global cuisine.
One simple dish that we ate tons of while living in Doha was baba ganoush. The smoky eggplant dip has just a few ingredients and is fairly simple, though slightly time-consuming to make. Grilling the eggplant until the skin is charred and blackened takes a while, but it is a fairly hands-off process and it imparts tons of flavor. I recently discovered a jarred roasted eggplant and decided to test it out as a stand-in for fresh. It is not 100% as good as homemade, but if you need a baba ganoush fix in a hurry it could be a good option.
Smoky Baba Ganoush Eggplant Dip
BBQ charred eggplant gives this classic Middle Eastern dip a lovely smokey flavor. With tahini and yogurt for richness, this quick and tasty recipe can't be beat!
- 3 large eggplants or 1 x23 oz jar of roasted eggplant
- 2 cloves garlic
- 3 Tbsp tahini
- 2 Tbsp Greek yogurt
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- Salt to taste
- citric acid or lemon juice to taste
- sumac for garnish
Set a barbeque grill to high and preheat for a few minutes. Place the eggplant on the grill and cook until charred and blackened on the outside, about 30-40 minutes, depending on the strength of your grill.
Place on a plate and allow to cool. When you can safely handle the eggplant, peel off the charred skin. Chop coarsely and place in a bowl.
Squeeze the garlic through a press into the bowl with the eggplant. Add the tahini, yogurt, olive oil, salt and citric acid and stir to combine. Taste to check for seasoning. Spoon the baba ganoush into a serving bowl and sprinkle with sumac. Serve with fresh flatbread or chips and veggies, as desired.
The eggplant is best when it is grilled, but it can also be broiled in an oven until blackened.
Citric acid powder and sumac can be found in Middle Eastern grocery stores, or online (see links below). Alternatively, the dip can be flavored with lemon juice and garnished with cumin.
Summertime is ideal for grilling and this dip goes great with a complete Middle Eastern meal. Grilled lamb or chicken, tabbouleh, fattoush and pita bread make great accompaniments. Don’t forget to rate and comment on this recipe if you make it. Show me some blog love.