Smoky Eggplant Dip (Patlican Ezmesi)

This dip is made with eggplants cooked by charring them whole and with the skin on, over a gas ring, on a barbecue or under the broiler. It's another dish which comes in all sorts of different guises in Istanbul-you can add anything from broiled bell peppers to a dollop of plain yogurt or roasted tomatoes to transform it into something quite different, but equally moreish. The crucial thing, though, is that you burn the eggplants thoroughly. A great Istanbul chef, Gencay Ucok, who runs a restaurant called Meze by Lemon Tree, gave this advice: "If you think the eggplants are done, they're not done. And if you run them under water to remove the skins, you'll wash out all the flavor." And he is quite right.
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