This was a long journey.
Recently I was teaching a Passover Seder class and when developing the menu I knew I wanted to do a fire roasted eggplant dip since it's a fun and really hands-on technique. Typically, I'd mix in some tahini since eggplant alone can cause sort of an itchy mouth sensation. But since this was a Passover class in an Ashkenaz synagogue, tahini was out as it is kitniyot. I know a lot of people use mayonnaise as a base for dip, so I went and bought my first jar of mayonnaise...ever. Turns out I'm not a fan. Plan C: my next move was to try yogurt, or in this case, a dairy-free yogurt. Unfortunately the soy yogurts, my preference, are also kitniyot. The next best option would've been an almond or cashew yogurt, but the synagogue is nut-free and so that was out too. After trying every single brand of coconut yogurt to no avail (do you know how expensive coconut yogurt is??!??!) I decided I need to go back to drawing board and find another way to make this work.
The thought of roasted red peppers had occurred to me, probably around the 2nd or 3rd brand of coconut yogurt, but I hushed the voice because I usually don't love the sweetness of roasted red peppers. At some point it seems more cost effective than buying another $7 artisan yogurt, so I went for it and fell in loooooooove. The mouth itching factor had dissipated and I knew I had something good on my hands.
I felt compelled to share this recipe because when I was documenting my struggles on Instagram stories several people had reached out saying they, too, were searching for a new way to make eggplant dip. Well my friends, here she is...
Serves 6-8 as a side
2 medium size eggplants
4 red bell peppers
1 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoons garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon sumac
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
3 tablespoons olive oil
1. Pierce the eggplants with a fork about 4 times per eggplant.
2. Optionally, line the stovetop with tinfoil, cutting out a circle where the burners are so that the flame doesn't touch the foil.
3. Turn the flame on high heat and place the eggplant directly on the flame.
4. Cook the eggplants until they are soft to the touch, turning it a quarter turn every 5 minutes. This will take between 20 - 30 minutes, depending on the size of the eggplant and the strength of your flame. Once the eggplant is fully cooked, transfer it to a plate and slice it down the center, lengthwise, and allow the eggplant to cool.
5. Meanwhile, place the peppers over the flame. Cook the peppers until the skin is completely charred, turning a quarter turn every couple of minutes.
6. When the skin of the peppers is completely charred, transfer them to a large bowl and cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. The peppers will continue to steam and soften in the bowl.
7. Once the eggplants have cooled, use a fork to separate the inside of the eggplant from the skin. Transfer the insides to the bowl of a food processor, along with any eggplant liquid there might be left on the plate.
8. Once the peppers have steamed (this should only take a couple of minutes) use your hands to remove the burnt flesh. The skin should remove very easily; if not you may not have charred the skin enough.
9. Once all the skin is removed, dispose of the stem and the seeds and transfer the rest to the bowl of the food processor.
10. Add in the remainder of the ingredients besides the olive oil and process until fully combined.
11. With the food processor still running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil.
12. Taste and adjust seasonings and salt as desired.