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

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