Thievery has been packed every weekend since it opened in May last year. Even though Sydney is full of excellent, traditional Lebanese restaurants, Thievery uses traditional flavours in a adventurous, modern ways. It will serve this dip at Taste Festival this weekend, but once you try it, you’ll want to know how to make it at home.

“Baba ghanoush has been a staple in Middle Eastern households for years, enjoyed primarily with a splash of pomegranate molasses and as part of mezze,” says Julian Cincotta, Thievery’s chef and co-owner. “This recipe pays homage to the traditional method, with yoghurt added to achieve tartness and pine nut butter to create texture and richness.

“Cooking the eggplants for long enough is key, so they take on a smoky flavour.”
He recommends tearing up some fresh Lebanese bread for scooping up the dip.

Baba Ghanoush with Sheep’s Milk Yogurt, Pine nuts and Burnt Butter

Serves 4


Baba ghanoush:
2 eggplants
25g tahini
Juice of one lemon
1 clove of garlic
25ml olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Pine nut burnt butter:
120g unsalted butter
75g pine nuts

Sheep’s milk yogurt dressing:
¼ clove of garlic
100g sheep’s milk yogurt
15ml extra-virgin olive oil

Chervil leaves, to garnish
Lebanese bread, to serve


Prick the eggplants with a fork all over. Over an open flame (using tongs) grill the eggplants whole until tender and soft. Juices should bubble on the surface and start to run off. 

Alternatively, roast in the oven at 190°C until tender and soft. Cut eggplants in half lengthways and scoop the flesh out into a bowl. Allow it to cool.

Add remaining ingredients to the eggplant flesh in the bowl. Using a whisk gently combine all ingredients together. Keep the texture thick to avoid turning the eggplant into a paste. Season to taste.   On medium heat melt the unsalted butter in a saucepan until it starts to turn an amber colour and give off a nutty smell.

Just before the butter turns brown add the pine nuts, tossing until it turns brown (beurre noisette). Remove from heat.

Set aside and keep warm so that the butter doesn’t solidify, allowing the pine nuts to infuse the flavour.   Finely grate the garlic. Combine with sheep’s milk yogurt and olive oil. Season to taste.

To serve:

Place baba ghanoush in a serving bowl. Dollop sheep’s milk yogurt dressing around it. Stir the pine nut burnt butter and spoon over the top.

Garnish with chervil leaves and serve with warm Lebanese bread.