Grilled Baby Eggplants with Date Syrup and Tehina

by Sarah on May 12, 2010

orchid israel

eggplant colored bee orchid (Ophrys apifera) from the Carmel Mountains

I am a terrible shopper. My shopping list immediately goes out the window as soon as I see something beautiful…. Mounds of cherries like the treasure hoards of pirates, crates of saturated red tomatoes or eggplants cloaked in burgundy.

At home I am confronted with more produce then I can possibly use and too few mouths to consume it all, even after bringing over the excess to my neighbors. I have cut back dramatically in the last few months but every once in awhile I still do some spontaneous cooking, in this case half a dozen baby eggplants.

baby eggplants

Although eggplants, indigenous of South-East Asia, are a basic part of the Turkish, Persian and Arab diet, Europeans took much longer to incorporate it, believing it to cause insanity. This is partly true; nobody can argue that the Turks are crazy for eggplants.

grilling baby eggplants

grilled baby eggplant

grilled baby eggplants

Grilled Baby Eggplants

This is a version of baba deconstructed (baba ganoush), made popular through Janna Gur’s cookbook on Israeli food. It has become a common item in restaurants throughout the country.

6-7 baby eggplants

4 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons date syrup

2 teaspoons mustard

1 tomato, finely chopped

3 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped

Tehina sauce

1/4 cup tehina (sesame paste)

2 tablespoons date syrup


Mix the olive oil, date syrup and mustard. Cut the eggplants lengthwise and brush the surface with the marinade. Grill the underside until golden and then flip. Brush the surface with more marinade and continue grilling until the flesh is soft, about 10 minutes.

Mix the tehina with the date syrup. Add a few tablespoons of water and mix to form a creamy sauce. Add salt to taste. Top the eggplants with the tehina, chopped tomatoes and parsley.  For variety you can also add pomegranate seeds, herbs, hot pepper and green onions. I also made another version with a honey, olive oil and tamarind concentrate glaze with honey, tamarind tehina and toasted almonds.

baby eggplant

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Robin from Israel May 12, 2010 at 7:22 am

Looks delicious, and beautiful photos too – you must really be loving that food photography course.

My photography is now available for purchase – visit Around the Island Photography and bring home something beautiful today!


Sarah May 12, 2010 at 7:49 am

thanks, Friday is my second day in the photography course- they will be teaching styling.


avital May 12, 2010 at 11:50 am

styling??? like braiding noodles :-) ya know…some yummy melted cheese would look good on top of those eggplants too….mmmm mmmm good! BTW, can i start modeling too?…you make food look like it deserves the cover of People magazine…imagine what you could do with me lol :-) okokok food site only…. love youuuuu!


ilva May 12, 2010 at 9:02 am

I do understand you, how is it possible to resist baby eggplants??!! This is a great way of serving them and what a fantastic shoot of the orchid!


Sarah May 12, 2010 at 9:06 am

thanks! that was my best shot, by the time I took the eggplants the sun was too low in the sky… hopefully I will learn about artificial light to correct that


Zora May 12, 2010 at 10:28 am

Funny–I fell for the exact same eggplants in the store here yesterday! They are delightful. It’s not grilling weather yet, but I love the date-tahini idea–I will experiment. Many thanks!


Yael May 13, 2010 at 6:02 am

Looks delicious!

Reply May 13, 2010 at 8:43 am

Grilled stuffed micro eggplants.
Great idea!
Thank you for posting!



Cherine May 13, 2010 at 12:41 pm

This looks absolutely delicious!


Sarah May 13, 2010 at 12:45 pm

thank you! they are cute little appetizers


OysterCulture May 15, 2010 at 5:30 am

Eggplant has caused insanity in me too, and I am so excited to try this recipe. I’ve not used date syrup yet and have always wanted to, this recipe looks like the perfect excuse to check it out.


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