– Serves 2 as a main or 4 as a side
By Lidija Abu Ghazaleh
Traditionally made with eggs, Shakshouka is a very popular dish in the Middle East. This vegan version is made with eggplant instead of eggs…because if you are going to replace eggs with a plant, what could be better suited?
This recipe is extra special to me because it is from my mother-in-law. She has been making this dish for decades and it is a family favorite. She recently passed on her expertise to my dear friend Lidija over at Lidija’s Kitchen, who is now lovingly passing it on to you! I am so grateful that I can now share it with you too.
- 700 grams eggplant (I use baby eggplant that are long and thin)
- 2 cloves garlic
- 3 tomatoes (about 300 grams)
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 3 teaspoons salt (2 teaspoons to salt the water, 1 teaspoon for the tomato sauce, plus more to taste)
- 1 long green “banana” pepper
- Canola oil for deep-frying eggplant
- Olive oil
- Wash the eggplant and trim both ends. Peel a strip of skin off lengthwise every 2.5cm or so. You want to peel half the skin off the eggplant.
- Cut the eggplant lengthwise in half, then cut the halves into quarters. Chop each quarter into 2.5cm pieces.
- Cut the pepper into roughly the same size as the eggplant and set aside.
- Cover eggplant in a bowl of cold water with 2 teaspoons of salt. Allow to soak for ten minutes. In the meantime, get on with your tomato sauce…
- Cut your tomatoes in half. Grate each tomato on a box grater over a large bowl. This will allow you to get the flesh and juice out of your tomato while easily discarding the skin.
- Mash your garlic in a mortar and pestle with ¼ teaspoon salt.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a sauté pan. Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste and sugar, let simmer uncovered over medium heat until sauce thickens, about twenty minutes. Check for seasoning and adjust if necessary.
- Drain your eggplant in a colander. Grab fistfuls of eggplant and squeeze the excess water out with your hands – you want your eggplant very dry to ensure that it browns properly.
- Heat canola oil 1/3 of the way up the sides of a large frying pan over medium heat. When the oil is hot, carefully add half the eggplant. Let fry, stirring occasionally. Once the eggplant turns from greyish white to a beautiful deep brown, carefully remove it from the oil using a slotted spoon. Place on a plate lined with paper towels. Repeat the frying process with the remaining eggplant.
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive OR canola oil in a small frying pan. Fry the pepper, stirring occasionally. Cook until the pepper is very caramelized – it can almost be black. Remove from heat and set aside.
Spoon the eggplant into a bowl (I used two bowls since I doubled the batch). Sprinkle the peppers on top of the eggplant, then pour the tomato sauce. Serve hot, cold, or at room temperature.
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Lidija Abu Ghazaleh: A passionate cook, writer & die-hard dreamer, Lidija dives into the depths of the culinary world to showcase the beauty and the magic that happens in the kitchen and beyond. She is a culinary storyteller who believes that food is one of life’s greatest pleasures and all about balance and moderation. She currently lives in Dubai with her husband and three beautiful children. You can find more of her inspiring recipes at Lidija’s Kitchen.
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