Smokey aubergines are just packed with flavour.  I’ve added some spice to this recipe, as inspired by fellow Iraqi chef, Nawal Nasrallah.

Ingredients (serves 6)

3 medium aubergines

1 lemon (juiced)

2 garlic clove grated (small)

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp ground cumin

½ tsp chilli powder

2 tbls natural yoghurt

Salt and pepper

Extra virgin olive oil

1 small pomegranate


With a sharp knife, prick each of the aubergines 8-12 times covering all areas.

On your gas hob, or BBQ, put the aubergines straight on top of the flame.  You want to ‘char’ the whole aubergine giving it’s renowned burnt and smoky flavour.  Using tongs, turn the aubergines every few minutes, ensuring the heat penetrates all sides of the aubergine.  Keep going for at least 15 minutes.  You want the aubergines really charred and burnt.

Once charred and squishy, transfer to a sieve with a bowl underneath.  Allow to cool.

In a large mixing bowl, grate the garlic and add 2 tbls of extra virgin olive oil.  Then add the spices.  Set aside.

Now while the aubergines have been cooling, there should be a smoky, syrup-like liquid formed in the bowl beneath the aubergines.  Keep this for later.

Peel the skins of the aubergines and remove the green stalk.  When removing the skin – be patient.  You want to remove all the charred parts as this can be quite bitter to eat.  Once removed, transfer the aubergines to a chopping board and chop by hand, over and over again.  You want there to be some texture and lumps.  Not 100% smooth.

Add the aubergine pulp to the mixing bowl with the spices.  Add seasoning and taste.  Next add the yoghurt and lemon juice.  You should see the colour become lighter.  Taste again.

Next, take the smoky syrup and add some to the mix.  This is entirely up to you.  The more you add, the smokier it becomes.

Transfer the mix to a serving bowl.  Garnish with fresh pomegranates and a drizzle of olive oil.

Serve with warm Iraqi tanoor bread.