Food & wine

Blackened aubergine recipe

Chef Josh Katz of Berber & Q Grill House ‘cooks in technicolour,' says restaurant critic Jay Rayner. Borrowing from the traditions of the Middle East and North Africa, enlivened by a stint in New York, this north Londoner cut his teeth cooking alongside Yotam Ottolenghi, witnessed in the bright, bold flavours of his dishes. Who better to inspire us with punchily spiced summer barbecue recipes matched in the glass by our selection of barbecue wines.

Blackened aubergine

S’chug, otherwise known as Yemenite Dynamite among the Berber & Q team, is what sets this dish apart – bird’s eye chillies blitzed together with lemon, cardamom and herbs to create one serious sauce. Aubergines are a wonderful ingredient for this style of cooking and it’s important to maintain their original shape when blackening them on the BBQ.

Note: If the number of chillies in this dish looks alarming, just reduce the amount or go easy when drizzling over the finished dish


For the S'Chug

  • 20g mixed red and green bird’s eye chillies, stalks removed
  • 4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 2 cardamom pods, crushed, husks discarded, seeds only
  • Small handful of picked mint leaves
  • Small handful of picked flat-leaf parsley
  • ¼ bunch of coriander including stalks
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 75ml extra virgin olive oil

For the tehina sauce

  • 100g tahini paste
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, grated or finely chopped (optional)
  • 100ml iced water
  • 120ml best quality extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 aubergines, stem attached

To serve

  • 20g pine nuts, toasted
  • 20g pomegranate seeds
  • A pinch of sumac
  • Some picked parsley & dill leaves, roughly chopped
  • Flaked salt, to taste


  1. First make the s’chug. Blitz the chillies in a food processor with the garlic, cardamom seeds and a bit of oil for a minute to make a rough paste.
  2. Add the mint, parsley, coriander and lemon juice, and continue to blitz.
  3. Start to gradually pour in the oil, until you get the right consistency. It should be coarse, but not too dry. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. To make the tehina sauce, pour the tahini paste into a bowl and add the lemon juice and garlic (if using). Gradually whisk in the iced water, bit by bit, as you pour. The tahini will thicken at first to a very coarse paste but will loosen to form a thick sauce with the consistency of mayonnaise as you add more of the iced water. Season with salt to taste.
  5. Pierce each aubergine several times with a sharp knife or skewer. Set a barbecue up for grilling, or else burn the aubergine over a naked flame on your stove and be prepared to make a mess. Turn the aubergine regularly until charred all over and completely cooked through. Remove from the grill and set-aside until cool enough to handle.
  6. Peel the aubergine carefully, doing the best you can to retain the integrity of its original shape, whilst leaving the stem attached. Season the aubergine generously with salt and pepper, and drizzle generously with olive oil.
  7. Spread the tehina sauce generously around a serving platter and place the aubergine flesh on top. Drizzle the s’chug over the top, sprinkle the pine nuts, pomegranate seeds and sumac all over and garnish with roughly chopped parsley and dill. A generous final drizzle of olive oil is obligatory.

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