Muttabal is a Levantine dip traditionally made with aubergine, yoghurt, tahini, lemon and garlic. I teamed up with Basima's Kitchen (@Basimaskitchen) once again to revisit a staple dish from Southwest Asia using foraged ingredients. Instead of preparing muttabal with a raw garlic bulb, we opted for foraged garlic leaves, a seasonal wild food native to Asia and Europe.
About Wild Garlic (Allium ursinum)
Ramsons or wild garlic is a food forager's dream. It is an abundant wild food with a long season of around 5 months- so you can enjoy this versatile food throughout the peak of the foraging season.
Ramsons can be found in damp woodlands and shaded hedgerows. It's a leafy vegetable with a flavour of garlic, and delicious edible flowers. The most straightforward way of identifying this plant is by smelling its strong garlic aroma.
This wild food may also support the cardiovascular, gastrointestinal and respiratory systems (Sobolewska et al., 2015).
I love how versatile wild garlic can be. Which is why we love to re-visit traditional recipes with this plant. I firmly believe everything tastes better when this wild food is involved.
You can incorporate ramsons in omelettes, pestos, soups, risottos, delicious dips, infused salts and butters, or even in fatayer, a traditional Levantine stuffed pie. You can also pickle the flower pods for a unique, sour-garlic ferment.
Wild Garlic and Sustainability
Given its culinary nature, wild garlic can be an over harvested plant. Unfortunately, not everyone keeps sustainability in mind when foraging wild food, especially restaurants, who like to incorporate wild garlic in their seasonal menus.
When harvesting wild garlic, cut the leaf from the stem, rather than pulling it out from the roots. That way you can assure it will come back every season. Don't harvest too much from one spot- instead, pick a few leaves here and there, and only take what you need!
Wild Garlic Muttabal (Aubergine Dip)
Deema Al Huqail and Basima's Kitchen
Revisit this staple aubergine dip from the Levant using foraged ingredients.
Innards of 2 large aubergine or 4 small baby eggplants
a small handful of chopped wild garlic leaves, fresh
2 tbsp light tahini
1 tbsp yoghurt
Lemon and salt to taste
(optional) top with pomegranate
With a knife, poke a few holes on the sides of the aubergine. Discard the stems.
Char the aubergine on the fire of a gas hob until the skin is blackened. We like to char on the fire to give the aubergine a delicious, smokey flavour. If you don't have a gas hob, just roast them in the oven.
Allow the aubergine to cool down. Once cooled, peel and discard the skin. Place the innards of the aubergine in a bowl.
Chop a handful of wild garlic leaves.
Place a bit of salt in a mortar and pestle, add the wild garlic leaves, and grind to a paste.
Add the aubergine in the mortar and pestle, and mash together. You can do this with some aubergine at a time if it doesn't fit in one go.
Add tahini, yoghurt, lemon and salt to taste. Mash to combine.
Taste the muttabal. Add salt, yoghurt or lemon if necessary.
Serve on a bowl, and top with olive oil and (optional) pomegranate.
Enjoy the muttabal as a side dish with pita bread.