Last Updated: 2021-08-09
4 SERVINGS EASY 120 CAL APPETIZER 60 MIN (15 MIN PREP + 45 MIN COOK TIME)
Despite my adventurous spirit, sometimes I’m hesitant to try new food. From time to time, sitting in a restaurant, a dish I’ve ordered before passes by, tempts me with its aroma, and I give in and order the same old thing. It’s risky to try something new, and easier to go with the familiar.
This opposite is true of the recipe I am going to share today. My go-to starter in Morocco used to be a salad with cheese. But, one time, before ordering, I saw another person trying an eggplant-based dish. So, I decided to order it and I was not dissapointed.
In today’s post I’ll share how to make this traditional dish that the Moroccans call Zaalouk, but I call it eggplant salad. The recipe that I am sharing is exactly how my friend Fatiha taught me (thanks again for showing me so many tidbits of Moroccan cuisine).
Let’s get started!
2 large eggplants (aubergines)
3 ripe tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic
Oil and Salt
1 Cut off the ends of the eggplant and dice it into small cubes. I don’t usually peel its skin, because I like its texture and what it does for the dish. Of course, this is according to your own taste.
2 Steam the eggplant cubes in a steamer if available, otherwise you can use the traditional method of boiling them in a pot of water. Once cooked, we drain them thoroughly, place them in a colander, and squash them a bit. Remember that the less water they have, the tastier they’ll be.
3 Put oil into a frying pan (enough to cover the bottom) with the garlic and the finely chopped tomatoes. Cook down over medium heat until it has the consistency of tomato sauce, then add the eggplant cubes.
4 Add the spices and salt and cover it with a lid, simmer on low heat for 15 minutes and stir occasionally.
Now all you have to do is serve it, grab a Berber spoon (as my friend Hassan always says) and eat up. Many of you will ask: “What’s a Berber spoon? Some piece of Moroccan cutlery that I don’t know about?” In the following photo you have the answer:
Like any Moroccan starter worth its salt, it must be presented in the center of the table. Instead of cutlery, we use bread to grab a bite and bring it to our mouths.
It’s common to add sliced olives. Other ingredients that help to nuance the flavor of Zaalouk are lemon, vinegar or even paprika, which gives it a spicy touch. You can serve it cold, although I usually prefer it hot.
I hope that you’ll get a chance to try a few variations on Zaalouk to see which version best suits your palate. Much love to all and see you in the next post!
If you want to learn more, check out our page on Moroccan food.