Jacato Babaganoush

I know you are already wondering what jacato is, right? Well it is part of the aubergine family but much smaller. Some of you may know it as the African eggplant or garden egg.

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Like the aubergine it has a meaty texture and it is put in stews to bulk out the dish or used as meat substitute. It is also a little bitter but great in complimenting and soaking up the flavours of other ingredients in a dish.

I came up with this dish when trying to develop a few more vegetarian dishes to be served at Cham Cham.  I’d been running some ideas past my Mama when she told me how, when cooking jacato, she always thinks about a restaurant in Liberia.  It is apparently famous for its signature dish of goat soup and fufu served with jacato babaganoush. The beautiful aromas drift out into the streets and create a queue of customers from dawn to dusk.

I had never even thought about roasting jacato so I thought I’d give it a try, and it absolutely rocks!! It’s a perfect little dish for my guests to cham on with sweet potato and yam crisps, and I will be serving it to guests upon their arrival at tomorrow night’s supper club.

Try it out for yourselves – enjoy!


The prep. part – Serves 2 – 3 people

  • 6 jacato, rinsed
  • ½ tbsp. of tahini
  • ½ juice of a lemon
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Couple of stalks of parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp, sesame seeds
  • 2 tsp of pomegranate seeds for garinish

The cooking/ assembling part

  • Preheat oven to 185C. Place the jacato in a tray in oven just as they are for 20 minutes.
  • After 20 minutes turn them over and cook for a further 20 minutes. Once cooked they will still be quite firm.

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  • Allow them to cool and remove the stalks.

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  • Crush a little with a fork and then place in the food processor, with the lemon juice and garlic, and pulse a few times. You don’t want the mixture completely smooth, just enough to break up the garlic.

Mixing together the babaganoush

  • At this point put the sesame seeds on a baking tray in the oven. The oven should be off but will still be warm enough to allow them to be toasted lightly. Only leave them in there for about 2 minutes.
  • Turn the mixture from the food processor into a plate or bowl and mix in the tahini and season with salt and pepper.
  • Mix in the parsley.
  • Place in a bowl serve and drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil, pomegranate and toasted sesame seeds.


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