I didn’t so much choose this recipe so much as it chose me. Despite having read this book cover to cover at least half a dozen times, I had never taken much notice of this recipe. Yet somehow, the book ribbons were both on this page and one day my book just fell open on it. I’d picked up some discounted Cauldron tofu in Lidl so it seemed like a decent mid-week option. Sadly, the only green beans I could find were a bit gnarly, but smothered in chraimeh sauce (whatever that is) I was sure it would be delicious.
Simple by name, simple by nature. This recipe sounded like more faff than it was. You boil some beans then put to one side. Next, you fry some tofu till crispy, then put to one side. Finally you make the chraimeh sauce and combine the ingredients together and sprinkle coriander on top.
So chraimeh a river…
So to quote Yotam, ‘Chraimeh is a piquant sauce from Libya. It keeps well in the fridge for at least a week so make double or triple the quantities, It also works as a sauce for chicken or fish or just as a dip with bread before supper’. In practice, it’s a chilli sauce with a bit of musty cumin and caraway and the sourness of lime. Tasty and well balanced, but could be punchier I’d say.
As recommended, I served the dish with steamed rice. To help visualise the finished product, it’s a vaguely curry-esque dish. It was definitely tasty, and quick to bring together. I just hate (HATE) the thankless task of frying tofu so may try roasting it next time. I would also cook it sans tofu as part of vegan component of a ‘spread’, as you might a green bean casserole.
You can find the Tofu and French beans with chraimeh sauce on p.104 of Ottolenghi Simple. Yotam also posted a less ‘simple’ version of the recipe on the Guardian a few years back. The sauce looks actually looks a bit punchier than the version in the book.