If you are a fan of baba ganoush chances are you are going to love Zaalouk, which I like to call baba’s Moroccan cousin. Zaalouk is a warm and earthy dip made from eggplant, tomatoes, garlic, herbs, and spices. I will admit, this dip might not be the prettiest considering it’s well… brown, but after just 1 taste this recipe will be one of your favorites. Enjoy this ethnic vegetarian dish as a dip with warm pita or crusty bread, or keep it a little extra chunky or treat it like a warm salad and eat it on the side of a main dish.
Those pesky eggplants…
If you have cooked eggplant before you know they can be rather difficult to get tender. Not cooked enough, eggplant can be spongy and bland. While some recipes for zaalouk call to stew cubed eggplant, this recipe adds an additional step that not only guarantees your eggplant will be soft, tender, and delicious, but adds an additional grilled and smoky flavor. Yes… we are going to grill it. Similar to my baba ganoush recipe the eggplant is grilled until soft, and then stewed with the rest of the ingredients. No grill? Roasting the eggplant will yield the same texture without the additional fire roasted flavor, so if you have a grill use it!
What You’ll Need For Zaalouk
- Eggplant – Use globe/American eggplants, the most common type you find at the market.
- Tomatoes – Fresh only! This isn’t pasta sauce, no canned tomatoes here. The tomatoes need to be blanched to remove the skin (read recipe below), and while some recipes call to remove the seeds, we are keeping it simple here, cube the tomatoes seeds and all.
- Garlic – Whole, fresh garlic. DO NOT used pre-chopped refrigerated garlic.
- Paprika – Use regular or for an additional smoky flavor smoked paprika, shy away from hot paprika.
- Olive Oil
While you do need to put some time into making this delicious dish, you’ll find that its easy and seamless to make
A Few Tips
- The recipe calls to break up the tomatoes and eggplant as they stew together with spices and herbs. Ultimately, you are in control of how chunky or smooth you want this dip. I like to have some chunks left in, but smooth enough to dip a wedge of pita.
- Spicy lover? Add some chili flakes when you bloom the spices.
- While I know it might be tempting to dish this out as soon as it’s done cooking, this dip tastes best when brought down to room temp giving time for the flavors to come together further.
- Didn’t finish it all? Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to a week.
- 1 eggplant large
- 3 tomatoes roma or vine
- 1/4 cup parsley minced
- 1/4 cup cilantro minced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp salt or more to taste
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Prep the eggplant; Poke 2-3 small slits in the eggplant to prevent it from popping and to assist with cooking. Preheat the grill, once hot put your eggplants on and close the lid. Every 10 minutes flip to prevent scorching the eggplant. Depending on how hot your grill is this should take roughly 20-30 minutes. If opting to roast, preheat the oven to 425°. Rotate every 10 minutes. In both scenarios the eggplant is done when it is soft and can be pierced with a fork or knife with ease. When eggplant is done and cooled cut off the stems, peel back the skin and discard and cut into small cubes.
- While the eggplant is cooking blanch and prep the tomatoes; score the bottom of the tomatoes with a small X, just enough to pierce the skin. In a medium pot of boiling water blanch the tomatoes for 2-3 minutes. Immediately throw in a bowl of ice cold water. Once cooled to the touch peel back the skin. Dice, with seeds and all.
- In a medium sauce pan over low to medium heat add olive oil. Once oil has heated up bloom the spices (cumin and paprika for 3-4 minutes until fragrant).
- Add garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.
- Add chopped tomatoes, eggplant, parsley, and cilantro mix to combine. Add 1 tsp of salt. Stew for 15-20 minutes breaking up large chunks as the eggplant and tomatoes further cook. The consistency is up to you, I leave some small chunks.
- Once stewed together remove from the heat and allow to come to room temperature. Enjoy with pita or a crust loaf of bread. Enjoy!