Zaalouk with crispy halloumi

Zaalouk with crispy halloumi

  • serves 4
  • Easy

Zaalouk is served at room temperature as a side dish. It’s perfect for dunking, so get plenty of warm soft pitta lined up. To make this into more of a meal, serve the zaalouk with pieces of crispy, pan-fried halloumi. Although it’s not really Moroccan, the salty cheese works perfectly with the richness of the aubergines



  • aubergines 3 large
  • olive oil 5 tbsp, plus extra for drizzling
  • garlic 4 cloves, finely chopped
  • tomatoes 4, finely chopped
  • tomato purée 2 tbsp
  • ground cumin 2 tsp
  • paprika 2 tsp
  • dried chilli flakes ½ tsp
  • bay leaf 1
  • caster sugar a pinch
  • lemon ¼, juiced
  • coriander a small handful, finely chopped
  • halloumi 300g, cut into ½ cm slices
  • warm pitta to serve


  • Step 1

    Prick the aubergines all over with a skewer. Carefully put over a medium gas flame and cook for 3-4 minutes each side, turning a few times until tender. You should be able to poke a skewer into the charred skin and straight through the flesh when it’s cooked. Alternatively you can do this under a hot grill. Remove and leave to cool. Once cool, remove and discard the burnt skin. Cut off the tops and finely chop the flesh.

  • Step 2

    Heat 3 tbsp of the oil in a pan over a medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds until fragrant. Tip in the tomatoes, tomato purée, cumin, paprika, chilli flakes, bay leaf and sugar. Season with a good pinch of salt. Add 100ml of water, mix well and bring to the boil. Cover, reduce the heat and simmer for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the tomatoes have broken down.

  • Step 3

    Tip the aubergines into the sauce and season. Cover and cook for a further 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the sauce is lovely and thick. Add the lemon juice and coriander, and mix together.

  • Step 4

    Heat the remaining 2 tbsp of oil in a frying pan and fry the halloumi for 1-2 minutes each side until golden and crisp. To serve, spread the zaalouk in a serving dish and top with halloumi. Give a final drizzle of olive oil and serve immediately with pitta.

Photograph by Martin Poole. Recipes from Orange Blossom & Honey by John Gregory-Smith (£19.99, Kyle Books).

Orange Blossom & Honey by John Gregory-Smith