On mother’s day I was telling Jeja, my mom, about an Afghan dinner party I hosted. She always wants to know the menu. Followed by a long discussion about whether there were enough dishes served. To change the subject, I told her about the eggplant dip I invented for an appetizer and then described it to her. She frowned and then said, “That is Laghataq, one of your grandfather’s favorite dishes.” It goes to show you that everything has been done before and there are no new inventions.
This is the perfect dish to share or take to a potluck. You can make it several days in advance and I find that everyone loves it, inculding children. Since I have been asked for this recipe many times, I finally hunkered down and wrote the ingredients down. Warning! This dish uses a good amount of olive oil. Don’t skimp on the oil since it adds flavor and creaminess to the dish.
I hope you enjoy this dish as much I do.
Creamy Afghan Eggplant Dip
Heat oven to 300 degree
One eggplant cut in ¼ inch disks
1 red bell pepper cut in thin strips
2 medium tomatoes, toughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, pealed
1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tbsp. tomato paste
1 tbsp. ground cumin
1 tbsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. paprika
½ cup Greek yogurt or Lebni
pinch of garlic powder
1 tsp. salt
Pour two tablespoons of the olive oil on a cookie sheet and spread around with fingers. Arrange the eggplant disks on the greased cookie sheet. Place the tomatoes and red pepper on top of the eggplant.
Add the following ingredients in a blender: garlic, tomato sauce, tomato paste, remaining olive oil, cumin, coriander, and paprika. Blend until all the ingredients are mixed and the sauce is smooth. Pour the sauce over the ingredients on the cookies sheet and make sure that it covers the eggplant. Spread the sauce with a spoon over the eggplant to insure it is distributed evenly.
Bake for 1 ½ to 2 hours on 300 degrees. The baking time varies with each oven. It is important to slow cook this dish in order for all the flavors of the ingredients to be absorbed by the eggplant. To test done ness, press the eggplant and the peppers with the back of a fork, if the fork sinks in easily it is done.
Let the eggplant cool for 1/2 hour before throwing all the ingredients in a food processor. Pulse three or four times, don’t over blend, make sure that you can see small chunks of the eggplant. Remove content and place in deep serving dish. The dip can be served cold or at room temperature.
I am dairy free, so I eat this dip with out yogurt but I must admit, it is more delicious with the yogurt topping. In a bowl mix the yogurt, salt and garlic powder until creamy. Pour the yogurt sauce on top of the dip. Serve with pita slices or pita chips.