Aubergine shawarma

This is my version of a recipe from Honey & Co published in the FT magazine.

It is a bit tedious to make the first couple of times, because there are things you have to do in a sequence and others can be done in parallel (to save time), so it’s a bit hard to visualise it all in your head initially, but once you internalise the instructions (which I’ve also “streamlined” to my liking) it should be fairly fast to get it going.

This is how I see it in my head:

Apart from the flavour itself, what I also really like is that you can cook a big portion of this and keep them in the fridge for easy consumption later. I put them on a box and re-heat a portion on the microwave before serving.

A plate with aubergine shawarma, served with a cucumber and tomato salad and black tahini dressing
A plate with aubergine shawarma, served with a cucumber and tomato salad and black tahini dressing

Ingredients

  • ~500g of aubergine (1 large or 2 smallish)
  • ~500g onions (3-4 onions)
  • 4 garlic cloves (or as many as your body can withstand)
  • 1 generous tsp ras el hanout
  • 1 generous bunch of coriander
  • 2-3 tbsp tahini (or to taste)
  • 1/2 lemon
  • salt

Preparation

Preparing the aubergine(s)

Wash the aubergines. No need to peel, keep the skin on.

Cut into thick “buttons” or semicircles (which I found easier to cook).

Place the cut aubergine in layers on a dish, generously sprinkling salt on top of them. This will help remove water from them.

Leave them “marinating” 20 minutes to 1 hour.

In the meantime, let’s…

Prepare the coriander, onion and garlic

Wash, dry and chop the coriander, and set aside.

Halve and chop the onion somewhat thinly.

Peel the garlic cloves. Cut 3 of them lengthways, and chop the other one very thinly (it’ll be for the tahini dip). Set that last clove aside in a small bowl. [If you’re using more than 4 garlic cloves, adjust accordingly].

Cook onion and garlic

Heat a big pan with oil, when hot add the onions and garlic and some salt.

Cook on a high heat for about 2 minutes.

Then reduce to medium, cover with a lid and cook for about 10-12 minutes (or more), stirring regularly until they’re soft, golden, then remove from the pan to a bowl for later.

In the meantime…

Prepare the dip

Add as much tahini as you’d like (I normally use 2-3 generous table spoonfuls for 2 people) into the small bowl with the finely chopped garlic.

Add the juice of half a lemon and some salt (about half a teaspoon).

Stir carefully to incorporate the juice into the tahini. Add water a bit at a time and stir, until it reaches a consistency you’d like (more or less creamy). Cover and set aside for later.

Finish preparing the aubergine

Take each of the aubergine pieces and lightly pat/squeeze them between a tea towel or paper towel, to remove the water they’ve released. Set them aside.

Cooking the aubergine

Add some oil to the pan if it’s dry-looking, then add the aubergine.

Cook on a high heat initially until they are almost quite soft, then reduce the heat (I like to use a lid throughout as it helps cooking faster) and simmer for longer, until they reduce quite a lot.

When the aubergine is golden and soft, add the onion and garlic, and stir around to mix.

Add the ras el hanout, and stir around to coat everything with it.

Add the coriander and mix.

To serve

We’ve tried various options:

  1. Just with a simple tomato and cucumber salad, and the dip on top – works well and it isn’t super heavy and filling
  2. Like above but with the salad and the aubergine inside [home-made] pitta breads. They soaked all the liquid from the aubergine and the dip and were truly delicious.
  3. With some normal bread, toasted—this was “OK”, but not so successful.

My favourite is number 2! But sometimes you don’t want the hassle of making or buying the breads, so number 1 is also totally fine.

Aubergine shawarma on pitta bread with black tahini dressing, with a salad of cucumber, tomato, mint and olives
Aubergine shawarma on pitta bread with black tahini dressing, with a salad of cucumber, tomato, mint and olives

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