Tofu and Haricots Verts with Chraimeh Sauce

Yotam Ottolenghi

"Ottolenghi Simple"

"This is a lovely veggie main, served as it is or with some rice. Chraimeh is a piquant sauce from Libya. It keeps well in the fridge for at least one week (or can also be frozen and kept for one month), 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."—James Beard Award Winner Yotam Ottolenghi


  • 1 lb (455g) haricots verts, trimmed
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 14 oz (400g) firm tofu, cut into 1-in (2 1/2-cm) cubes and patted dry
  • Salt
  • 3/4 cup (15g) cilantro, roughly chopped

Chraimeh Sauce:

  • 6 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tsp hot paprika
  • 1 tbsp caraway seeds, lightly toasted and crushed in a pestle and mortar
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 limes, one juiced and one cut into 4 wedges for serving
  • Salt
  • 1 cup plus 1 tbsp (250ml) water


Fill a medium saucepan halfway with water and place over high heat. Once boiling, add the green beans and boil for 5 to 6 minutes, until they are cooked but still retain a slight bite. Drain, refresh with cold water, drain again, and set aside.

Put the oil into a large sauté pan and place over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the tofu and a rounded 1/4 tsp of salt and fry for 4 to 5 minutes, turning throughout so that all sides are golden brown. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Make the chraimeh sauce: mix the garlic, paprika, caraway, cumin, cinnamon, and oil in a small bowl. Return the large sauté pan to medium-high heat and, once hot, add the garlic and spice mix. Fry for about 1 minute, then add the tomato paste, sugar, lime juice, and 3/4 tsp of salt. Stir to combine, then pour in the water to make a thin sauce. Once bubbling, stir frequently for about 2 minutes, until the sauce begins to thicken. Return the green beans to the pan and continue to cook for another minute, until the sauce is thick and the beans are hot.

Remove from the heat and gently stir in the tofu and cilantro. Divide among four shallow bowls and serve, with a wedge of lime alongside.

Reprinted with permission from Ottolenghi Simple: A Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi, copyright © 2018. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House.


4 servings