« Zaalouk » Moroccan aubergine / eggplant caviar


Prep time: 30 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Serves: 6 - 8 people :

Eggplant caviars and eggplant salads are quite popular throughout the Middle East, North Africa and certain European countries. Among the most popular, « Baba Ghanoush » or « Moutabel »  orignally from levantine cuisine, In Greece and Cyprus « melitzanosalata », « ajvar » from the Balkan, Georgian « badrijnis khizilala » and « zaalouk » the Moroccan version prepared with eggplant and tomatoes with Chermoula  spices : garlic, cumin, paprika, parsley, coriander and plenty of olive oil.

Cooked salads are a big part of a Moroccan everyday cooking, you’ll rarely see a main course served without at least one salad. And « Zaalouk » is the common side dish for to many meals like grilled meat, or tagines ( with meat or fish). The most popular is made from eggplant, but there are several versions « cauliflower zaalouk » or « carrot zaalouk ».

There are to many ways to make this recipe, it often differs from region to region or from a family to another, some people add grilled and diced red peppers. But the main difference is how to the eggplant is prepared : fried, roasted, grilled, boiled or just cut into pieces with or without skin and added to the rest of the ingredients. For the recipe I’m sharing with you today, I broiled the eggplant over an open flame wich adds a smokiness flavor to my Zaalouk.

Zaalouk is a perfect addition to a mezze table, served with moroccan bread (or pita bread) and why not served with pieces of crispy pan fried halloumi cheese. I tried it and it was amazing.

Because it’s served at room temperature it can easily be made ahead. You can also make a big quantity, and divide it into an individual portions and freeze them.

This recipe is vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free.

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« Zaalouk » Moroccan aubergine / eggplants caviar

  • Prep time: 30 minutes
  • Cook time: 25 minutes
  • Total time: 55 minutes
  • Serves: 6 - 8 people :

« Zaalouk » is a Moroccan eggplant caviar. It's a quick and easy dish to make.
You need eggplant, fresh tomatoes, garlic, Chermoula spices and aromatic herbs.
It can be served at room temperature or cold, with good homemade bread (or pita bread). This « cooked salad » goes perfectly with grilled meat or fish.


  • 3 aubergines / eggplant , medium size
  • 3 tomates , coarsely grated
  • 1 clove of garlic, grated
  • 3 Tbsp coriander , chopped
  • 3 Tbsp parsley , chopped
  • 1-1/2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 tsp paprika
  • 3 tsp cumin, powder
  • salt & black pepper
  • 5 Tbsp olive oil
  • harissa or chilli , (According to your taste )

Method :

  • 1)

    Place the eggplants/aubergines over a charcoal grill or directly over a gas flame, in this case you need to protect your gas range burner with a layer of foil, which makes for easier cleanup. Cook on a low-medium heat for 10-15 minutes, turning occasionally as you go using a tongs. The larger the eggplant, the longer it will take to roast. Once the skin has a nice char, and the eggplant is quite soft to the touch ( use a skewer to check if the inside of the eggplants is cooked, it should be tender) . take it off from heat and place them in a clean resealable plastic bag for few minutes to sweat, when cool enough to handle, peel the eggplants, then roughly chop the flesh and put it into a sieve.

  • 2)

    Meanwhile, in a pan add the tomatoes, garlic, tomato paste, paprika, harissa if using, bay leaves, salt, black pepper and olive oil.

    Cook for 10 – 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  • 3)

    Cut the eggplant flesh and add to it the pan. Stir until thick and all juices are evaporated (10-15 minutes). Take off from the heat, add olive oil, cumin and herbs finely chopped. Adjust seasoning if necessary.

    Serve at room temperature with bread.



    Enjoy !!


Tricks & Tips :

1- If the eggplants are grilled but hard from the inside, place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and place them in the oven (180C) for a few minutes, until you can insert the knife without difficulty.

2- As I said at the beginning there are many ways to cook eggplants, you could very well peel them, cut them into pieces and cook them with all the ingredients.  In this case, you can use smoked paprika to have that smoky taste in your Zaalouk.

3- Eggplant is the main ingredient for this zaalouk recipe.  It’s important to choose them, firm, shiny, without spots, and medium size to avoid the seeds.


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