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.