Main dishes,  Moroccan food,  Snacks, dips & sauces

Zaalouk, Easy & delicious Moroccan aubergine salad

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Zaalouk, aubergine salad

Zaalouk in Morocco

This Zaalouk simply had to be included in my Moroccan travels of taste. As it is one of the staple foods in Morocco. Therefore you often get it served as a side dish or you might just get a little bowl with a bit of bread to serve as a little dip before the main meal.

Main ingredients

The main ingredients of a zaalouk salad are;

  • aubergine
  • tomatoes
  • garlic
  • paprika powder
  • cumin
  • turmeric
  • fresh coriander
  • fresh parsley
  • salt, pepper & lemon juice to season

To grill or not to grill…

The Zaalouk salad is a very easy salad to make. You can make it with non-grilled aubergine, In which case you literally let everything simmer in a pot for about 30 minutes. With our without the skin of the aubergine, your choice. It is a nice and quick way to make a zaalouk salad.

But, if you want to take this salad a bit further I definitely recommend to grill the aubergine first, and just use the flesh of the fruit which will have a lightly smoked flavour after grilling.

How to grill your aubergine for a zaalouk salad?

If you have a charcoal grill handy, use that! it is a great way to get that lovely smoky flavour in the aubergine. But if not, don’t panic. You can create a beautiful smoked flavour in the aubergine flesh by using the flame of your gas hob. Cook the aubergine directly above the flame, with the use of some tongs. This will take approx. 15 minutes. Try to move the aubergine around so it will get cooked evenly.

Once the skin become lightly burned, and you can easily squeeze into the flesh of the aubergine with your fingers, you know it is ready. Put the whole aubergine in a tupperware and let it cool with the lid on. This will increase the cooking of the aubergine flesh. You might have to leave some steam out after the first 10 minutes.

Let the aubergine cool down enough so it is easy to handle with bare fingers. Peel the skin off, and scrape the flesh from the inside.

Here some pictures to help visualise the process (or check out the step by step video in the recipe card);

One important tip!

There is one important thing to remember while making a zaalouk. Always use fresh tomatoes. A tin of tomatoes is really a big no-no in a Zaalouk salad. Like with many Moroccan dishes, they might look simple but it is all about the freshness, the texture, and the oiliness of the dish.

Make it your own Zaalouk

As with many staple foods in Morocco there is no one recipe. Every household or region will have slightly different ways of cooking. One important choice to make with a non-grilled zaalouk; Do I leave the aubergine skin, or do I peel it? This really makes a huge difference in texture. I personally prefer peeling, as it adds to the creaminess of the dish (Choice only for the non-grilled option). Another important choice is the texture. How chunky do you want your salad to be? I have seen salads as chunky as a ratatouille. And I have seen zaalouk’s which look more like a creamy, fully blended dip. All is possible! Use a masher (like a potato masher) or a hand blender if you like yours creamy. Sometimes people like to add extra ingredients like; Roasted pepper or cauliflower.

I hope you will start experimenting with your own personal favourite zaalouk. Let me know the outcome down below, or add @haricoco1 to your instagram post. If you are interested in more Moroccan cuisine, check out my post; Morocco – the flavours of the souks.

Or check out some of my other aubergine recipes;

Zaalouk is part of ; ‘Travels of taste‘. discovering the world with our senses and imaginations. Walking around the hustle & bustle of the souks, and discover all the flavours Morocco has to offer, check out my full Moroccan ‘travels of taste’ post; >>> Morocco – the flavours of the souks.

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