1. Prick the aubergine all over with a skewer. Carefully place over a medium gas flame and cook for 3–4 minutes each side, turning four times, or until tender. You should be able to poke a skewer into the charred skin and straight through the flesh when it’s cooked. Remove and leave to cool. Once cool to touch, remove and discard the burnt skin. Cut off the top and finely chop the flesh. Set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, heat 3 tablespoons 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, pepper 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 to low and cook for 10–12 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the tomatoes have broken down.
  3. Transfer the aubergines to the tomato sauce. Mix well and check the seasoning. 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.
  4. While the aubergines cook in the sauce, heat the remaining oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Carefully place the halloumi slices into the pan and cook for 1–2 minutes each side until golden and crispy.
  5. 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.

Orange Blossom and Honey by John Gregory-Smith published by Kyle Books

Click here to buy a copy on Amazon


Serves 4

3 large aubergines
5 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
4 tomatoes, finely chopped
2 tablespoons tomato purée
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons paprika
½ teaspoon pepper flakes
1 bay leaf
A pinch of sugar
Juice of ¼ lemon
A handful of finely chopped coriander leaves
300g halloumi, cut into 0.5cm slices
Warm pitta, to serve
Sea salt

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