Morocco is a romantic country. Part of what makes Morocco romantic is Zaalouk, one of its salads. The sights, the sounds, the smells, the cuisines. Nothing can beat the beauty of Morocco. When you walk the streets of Morocco and take in the beauty, you cannot help but imagine romance.
When all you can do is imagine all the goodness that is in Morocco, the best that you can do is dream about Morocco. You can get on the internet, learn all that you need to about Morocco and of course eat Moroccan.
There is something exotic about eating Moroccan food, there is no quicker way to show that you are cosmopolitan and are well travelled. Or that you intend to be well-travelled.
Even the name of the dish, Zaalouk, is exotic and can create the excitement that you need to keep you grounded till you can see Morocco live.
How do you cook Zaalouk?
Zaalouk is the exotic name for a dish made with eggplant.
It is a Moroccan salad. All salads are yummy but the Moroccan salad is delicious. It is fun to eat and easy to make.
This amazing salad is popular all through Maghreb and is prepared using eggplant. Moroccans often spell it zaalouka in English.
Zaalouk means puree in Arabic or can be interpreted to mean something soft. The most well-know Zaalouka is the aubergine-based one.
Some other options have pepper in them and are called zaalouk alfilfil. Some contain Cauliflower and are called zaalouk algamabit. The zaalouka with Zucchini is called zaalouk alkusa while the one with carrot is called zaalouk aljuzur. Finally, the zaalouk with pumpkin is called zaalouk alyaqtin.
Eggplant Salads Around the World
Eggplant caviar and eggplant salads are most popular in the Middle East, North Africa and Southern Europe.
One of the most popular eggplant dishes is the baba ganoush, which is also known as mutabal. It is originally from Levantine cuisine, melitzanosalata. This is from Greece, ajvar from the Balkan countries and you prepare it with eggplant and tomatoes. Badingian bi ruman is from Egypt or kyopolou from Bulgaria.
Some information about Zaalouk
The Moroccan version of the eggplant Zaalouk salad is prepared with cumin and olive oil. You add it at the end of your cooking.
Depending on the recipe you are trying out, you can roast the eggplant before cooking or not. You can keep the skin or remove it.
In the Fez and Taza regions of Morocco, the people often add grilled and diced red peppers to the pan. All other areas add black olives to their salads.
Zaalouk is served when starting a meal. It is a salad or dip and you can add up grilled meats and fish to eat with the salads. Other accompaniments are fish, kebabs or tagines. The Zaalouk is best eaten with flatbread.
Who are the dadas of the Moroccan household?
Different generations have different Zaalouk recipes. The best recipe for any child is usually their grandmother’s salad or an aunt’s stew. Zaalouk is something you eat with family.
Almost every Moroccan family has a dada.
Dadas are often the best cooks in any family, after the grandmothers. They are silent and talented cooks who originated from the slaves from Sudan.
They bear in their hearts and memories century-old recipe books. This is an art that is passed from mother to daughter. They are often employed by wealthy families and are always female. They still exist today and carry the secrets of their cooking arts and expertise from generation to generation.
Almost all wealthy families in Morocco have one. Some families have several dadas. You need at least one dada to help your house function and they often wear many hats. She is the cook, nanny, maid, confidante and the sentinel of all family secrets.
Preparing Zaalouk – Eggplant Zaalouk
It is a Moroccan salad and is known throughout North Africa. This is often prepared with eggplant. You can also accompany the meal with grilled meats, fish and tagines.
The cooking time is between 10 and 55 minutes. This meal serves six people. This meal is an exciting meal to make.
- Two eggplants
- Two tomatoes
- Three clove garlic
- A bunch of parsley
- One teaspoon of paprika
- One teaspoon of cumin
- A pinch of chilli powder
- Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven broiler. Cut your eggplants in half.
Brush them with olive oil and broil until the eggplants are golden brown. This should take about 15 minutes.
Wash your tomatoes and place them on the tray. Cut up the tomatoes and sauté on high heat using olive oil. Add minced garlic, cumin and paprika to the mix.
Cut up the eggplants. You may or may not add the skin. Cut up the parsley, and add to the tomatoes mix.
Stir until the eggplant is tender and then cook for about 20 minutes. Add pepper and salt to taste. Sprinkle olive oil on the meal and add the required amount of chilli powder.
When the meal gets to the thickness, you are trying to achieve, stir through with cilantro and serve at room temperature or keep it warm.
You can serve it with crusty bread and your old-fashioned dipping. You can use it as a spread on bread or you can eat along with side dishes.
It is like many dishes from the Mediterranean, although it has its own unique flavours. Therefore, if you are eating this with other Moroccan dishes or adding many different accompaniments, you are sure to enjoy many flavours that are a great fit for one another.
Zaalouk is a great way to prepare eggplant and it is easy to make, it is multipurpose and it is a vegan dish. This is a perfect dish for summertime and you can eat it as pre-dinner dips. It is also a tasty addition to other dishes.
This salad is something you would love to eat all the time because it is healthy and great tasting. It is a win-win for health enthusiasts and for cooks who have a sweet tooth.
Also read: Zimbabwe’s best – Kapenta with Sadza