Since this posting a couple of years ago, I have resolved the roasting issue of mtabbal. I still don’t have a gas range, but my friend, A.G., on hearing about my unfulfilled wish, offered me a small bottle of smoke liquid. It works just fine, and the taste of my mtabbal now equals that of the range-roasted kind. Mtabbal is still heavenly food–light, pungent, versatile, and colorful!
In Jordan and Palestine, this heavenly eggplant dish of several layers of taste is called mtabbal. The Lebanese call it baba ghannoush. I go with the former.
Mtabbal is a simple but subtle dish which should be consumed at room temperature or slightly colder. It should be prepared a few hours ahead of time so that the various tastes have time to settle down and mingle but not become too familiar with each other. Which means that your aim is for a mtabbal that is light as a feather, in taste and in looks. Among the ingredients, the culprit,
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