Tofu & Chickpea Tagine

Ever wonder what came of those preserved lemons? Or just what to do with them?
Now that I’m detoxing and the only fruits allowed are lemons and bananas. I couldn’t have been happier now that I’ve made them. One of the key ingredients in several Moroccan dishes, these mellowed lemons add just the perfect flavour, lifting something that could have been heavy to a fresh new height.

Since this was the first meal that I would be making for visitors while I’ve been on the detox I was obviously compelled to be sure it wasn’t boring. The last thing I wanted was to showcase the potential dark side of a detox. Really, the truth be told, I’ve been having a great time being challenged to get creative in the kitchen again and I wanted it to show. This lively dinner, with it’s combination of spices and the lemon certainly didn’t disappoint.


1 Block Extra Firm Tofu, pressed to remove excess liquid
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Ground Coriander
1 Tablespoon Ground Cumin
1 Tablespoon Ground Cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons Garlic Powder
1 scant teaspoon Sea Salt
1 scant Tablespoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper
2 Tablespoons Cilantro, well chopped
1 Large Onion, sliced
1 – 540ml/19oz Can Chickpeas, rinsed
1 – 540ml/19oz Can White Kidney Beans, rinsed
1 1/2 Preserved Lemons, rind only – rinsed
1 1/2 Cups water

Press the tofu between two plates to remove execss liquid. Then, slice into 1 inch (2cm) cubes.
Combine the olive oil, spices, chopped cilantro, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add the cubed tofu and toss to coat. Cover and let it sit to marinade for at least one hour.

Heat a large sauté pan and fry the tofu over a medium-high heat until it is dry and beginning to crisp.
Remove from the pan and add the sliced onions to cook being sure to soak up any remaining bits of the marinade.
Rinse and remove the pulp from the preserved lemons. Dice the peel and add, along with both the onions and the tofu, to a large pot. Add the rinsed chickpeas and settle over a moderate heat.
In a separate bowl add the white kidney beans and the water. Using a potato masher, crush the beans, then add to the other ingredients, stirring well to combine.
Heat through, adjust seasoning where necessary.
Serve over a chewy brown rice, couscous (if not detoxing) or quinoa with a handful of extra cilantro.

Serves 6 – 8

Preserved Lemons

I love citrus. Yet, I was still hesitant to try preserving lemons.
Would the salty sour ruin my citrus? That fresh lemon scent so perfect for summery drinks and puckery desserts was, making it tough to imagine the final flavour.
I didn’t care. It’s citrus season, so when I saw the huge bag of glowing lemony goodness, I knew I’d be overwhelmed by tea and desserts, so giving this time honoured tradition wouldn’t be too tough to try.

Long before the rush of the Holidays set in I chopped and salted — and waited. Only hearing of the magic of preserved lemons, I had to wait until, and perhaps a little early, just this week. The flavour was of mellowed lemons, with a hint of caper. I combined it with a traditional spice mixture of cumin & cinnamon for a Moroccan tangine.
But first, you have to make the lemons:


6 Lemons
1  Cup Coarse Sea Salt
3 – 4 Bay Leaves (optional)
3 – 4  1/2 Pint Jars

Thoroughly rinse lemons and give them a good scrub.
Trim each end from the lemons and quarter lengthwise into wedges.
Roll each wedge into the salt to coat evenly and place into each jar until full, squishing as necessary and extracting juice.
Push bay leaf into jar, if desired.
Using another lemon wedge, squeeze to immerse prepared lemons in juice.
Seal jar and store in refrigerator at least 3 weeks or up to 6 months.
In the first few days, rotate and tip jars to disperse salt and make sure everything is submerged.
Test after about 3 weeks. The skins should be softened and flavourful after rinsing.