Arabic Dips (Recipe Collection)

Creamy, delicious and versatile – welcome to the colorful world of Arabic dips. Dips are definitely one of the highlights of any Middle Eastern meal, whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner. What most Middle Eastern dips have in common is that they have one (or more) vegetables as a key component, mixed with a few simple condiments and seasonings. This makes them delicious, versatile and very easy to make.

In this post, I’m going to share with you the best Arabic dips that you need to make at home.

Arabic Dips Recipes

Hummus

Hummus

Let’s start with the most popular Arabic dip: Hummus. Hummus is a famous Middle Eastern chickpea dip that has become a real crowd pleaser around the world in the past few decades. Although the dip is fairly easy, there are several varieties out there. Every country (and every region) has a slightly different twist. What’s important to know is that Hummus always has chickpeas as a main ingredient. That’s because hummus is essentially the Arabic word for chickpeas.

Traditional Middle Eastern Hummus is made of chickpeas, Tahini (sesame paste), water (for the texture) and a few condiments such as lemon, garlic and salt. Some people add yogurt and cumin. This famous Arabic dip is part of any Middle Eastern meal – whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner. It’s often eaten with Falafel, another popular Arabic chickpea dish.

Mutabal

Middle Eastern Mutabal Recipe

Let’s continue our list with another classic: Mutabal. Middle Eastern restaurants abroad will often sell this creamy eggplant dip under the name Baba Ghanoush. Interestingly, both dips exist, but there’s a difference between Mutabal and Baba Ghanoush. In the Levantine countries (the countries in the Eastern Mediterranean, ranging from Syria, Lebanon to Jordan), the famous eggplant dip (as pictured above) is called Mutabal Batinjan (Eggplant Mutabal). But because the Turkish name Baba Ghanoush is internationally known, Middle Eastern restaurants abroad often refer to Mutabal as Baba Ghanoush.

Sounds confusing? Yes and no. After all, the Middle East (ancient Ottoman empire) is quite huge in size and there are a lot of dishes that are popular in various countries. For me, Mutabal being so popular in so many countries only shows how good this Arabic dip is!

The main ingredient of Mutabal Batinjan is roasted eggplant. In the Levantine countries, Tahini (sesame paste), yogurt, garlic, lemon and salt are popular components of Mutabal. This Arabic dip has a smoky flavor with a pleasant creamy texture. It pairs well with so many dishes, from just bread to grilled meat, vegetables and rice.

Baba Ghanouj

Baba Ghanoush

Wait, didn’t we just talk about Baba Ghanoush under Mutabal? If you read the previous paragraphs carefully, you’ll know the difference between Mutabal and Baba Ghanoush, and why Mutabal is often referred to as Baba Ghanoush.

But like I said, both dishes exist. In the Levant, there is also a Baba Ghanoush (which is actually spelled Baba Ghanouj). Levantine Baba Ghanouj is different from Mutabal (Turkish Baba Ghanoush), although they do have some similarities.

The main ingredient to both Arabic dips is roasted eggplant. In contrast to Mutabal, Baba Ghanouj doesn’t have yogurt and Tahini. That’s good news for vegans and those who don’t like Tahini (sesame paste). Instead, Baba Ghanouj consists of roasted eggplant with finely chopped tomato and walnuts, pomegranate molasses, lemon, garlic and salt. It has a completely different taste when compared to Mutabal. If you ask me, both taste amazing!

Labneh

Labneh Strained Yogurt Recipe

If you like yogurt, you’re going to love Labneh. Labneh is a form of creamy dip made from strained yogurt. The spread is popular for breakfast, often alongside other types of cheese, yogurt and eggs.

While the concept of Labneh is simple, the taste and texture can greatly vary. Short straining periods will make your Labneh more watery. Straining the yogurt for more time will remove more of its whey and result in a thicker consistency and a sharper taste. Labneh can be enjoyed hearty (with olive oil) or sweet (with walnuts and honey).

Muhammara

Muhammara Red Pepper Dip Recipe

Originally from Syria, Muhammara is another unmissable dish when it comes to the best Arabic dips. The concept of Muhammara was to use leftover bread (dayold pita bread) which almost every family has at least some of. Throwing food is very uncommon in the Middle East and people will try to incorporate leftovers into a new dish. That’s how a whole range of new dishes was born, one of which is Muhammara.

For this popular Arabic dip, red peppers are roasted (on the barbecue or in the oven). They are mixed with breadcrumbs made from day old bread. For taste and texture, we add walnuts, garlic, olive oil and pomegranate molasses. Some people like to enhance the flavor with tomato paste and chili (for some heat) and season with some salt and pepper.

Today, Muhammara has become so popular that it’s no longer reserved for leftovers. This savory dip is a must-have for any barbecue, as it pairs extremely well with hearty dishes such as grilled meat (e.g. kafta), rice and salads.

Any Questions or Feedback?

If you liked this post, I’d appreciate it if you could leave a comment below (down the page). In case you’ve any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask me. I’m happy to help you make delicious Middle Eastern food at home.

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Are you a new to Middle Eastern cuisine? Then this Middle Eastern cookbook is what you need! In addition to a varied choice of recipes, the cookbook offers plenty of insights on ingredients, cooking techniques and Middle Eastern food culture.

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