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Recipe Collection

Charred Aubergine ‘Flowers’ with Garlic Labneh & Harissa

Liam Desbois — 2022

Though we often cook them year-round, aubergines are really at their best in the summer — and they’re even better when charred under the grill or on a barbecue. The way these baby aubergines are sliced makes them look like flowers, and it means everyone can cut off little wedges if you’re sharing — increase the quantities as you need to if you’re feeding a crowd. It’s really easy to make your own labneh too (click here for a step-by-step guide), just make sure to add in that garlic.

Serves: 2 as a side

Season: Summer

Prep time: 10 minutes + 6-8 hours straining
Cook time: 10 minutes

Photography: Liam Desbois
Food Styling: Sonali Shah
Prop Styling: Megan Thomson


3 baby aubergines
500g thick full fat yogurt
1 small garlic clove, peeled and grated
1-2 tbsp Belazu Rose Harissa
30g mixed seeds 


  1. To make the labneh, put a clean muslin or j-cloth over a sieve, over a bowl. Mix the thick yogurt with the garlic and 1 tsp salt, then spoon into the lined sieve and leave to drain for 6-8 hours in the fridge (or ideally overnight!) 

  2. The next day, heat your grill to high, then line a baking tray with foil and drizzle with vegetable oil. 

  3. Take a baby aubergine and cut down the middle lengthways from the fleshy end towards the stalk but stop before you get to the stalk. Make another cut in the same way, so your aubergine looks like a flower and repeat with the others.

  4. Add the cut baby aubergines to the baking tray and rub over a little more oil with 1/2 tsp salt. Put under the grill and cook for 4-5 min on each side or until charred all over.

  5. Whilst your aubergines are grilling, toast your seeds in a dry frying pan for 2-3 min.

  6. Spoon a couple of tablespoons of your garlic labneh onto a plate then top with the charred aubergine flowers. Drizzle over the harissa and sprinkle over the toasted mixed seeds, and some parsley leaves, if liked.

— about the author

Sonali Shah is a North London based food stylist, recipe developer and home economist, for both TV & film. In the last few years she has worked a variety of roles including cooking for Hollywood actors on film sets, as a private chef, as well as a development chef. She now focuses on food styling and recipe development, creating dishes both flavourful and beautiful.


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