Well this is my contribution to a monthly challenge, founded by my friend from university and former flatmate, Lyndsey; a most excellent cook (I have first hand experience) and prolific blogger. Check out her blog at: http://vanillacloudsandlemondrops.blogspot.com.
This is the inaugural Sweet Heat Monthly Chilli Challenge and I am delighted to be participating and encourage you all to get involved for next month’s event - the challenge for which will be announced on 1st November.
For this month though, the challenge was condiments so my mind immediately leapt to one of my favourite and versatile dips/accompaniments, a North African treat – Zalouk. It may not be the hottest or aesthetically pleasing of entries to this challenge, but I guarantee it is one of the tastiest and I only wish I could have transmitted the cooking aromas from kitchen this evening.
It may seem that I am being a little lazy as this is something that I have posted previously. In my defence, it was my second post ever and, trust me, had a limited readership and no picture. It was posted by me while in hospital with my baby boy earlier this year. So today, I made some Zalouk for both consumption and photographic purposes. (Yes that is a picture of my husband on a camel in the background!)
While you can read my original post here, here is my recipe for Zalouk – enjoy!
Although having spent some time in the Middle East and North Africa both with work and for pleasure, this is more of a culmination of attempts to recreate flavours experienced both there and in one of my favourite North African restaurants in London. For those of you from the region, please don’t take offence at my deviation from tradition, but hope you will agree this is a tasty version.
Serve Zalouk warm with pitta as a starter or dip when entertaining – yum. It is, however, equally good spread on a lamb or beef steak and stuffed in a pitta with some salad as it was this evening! Totally versatile and delicious.
1 large (or two small) aubergine
4 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons of parsley
1 medium chilli (deseeded) or 1 teaspoon lazy chilli
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon cumin
2 teaspoons salt
Pinch of cayenne pepper
60ml olive oil
80 ml water
This is really simple but very tasty!
Peel and dice the aubergine and peel and deseed the tomatoes (and chilli if using). Put all the ingredients into a food processor (I use a magimix) and blend together. Add an extra splash of olive oil to a deep pan and add the blended mixture to the pan. Simmer the mixture over a medium heat for around half an hour ensuring the pan is covered. Stir occasionally and season. Remove the lid and continue to simmer for another 10 minutes until there are no liquids remaining.
I often serve this with warmed pitta as a starter before a main of my lamb and prune tagine – the recipe for which will follow on a later post.