I have just recently returned from a trip to Morocco where I had the pleasure of being introduced to this amazing dish. Tfaya is a very popular dish that consists of sauce made with caramelised red onions and raisins and is traditionally served over couscous. Depending on the region, there are many variations on the basic recipe. The one I have chosen for you contains chickpeas and is widely eaten in Marrakesh. The flavours of this dish are truly incredible and I suggest that anyone with a love of wonderful tastes and textures tries this delightful dish. Enjoy.
3 large red onions, very thinly sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon vegan margarine, I use Vitalite
2 tablespoons agave syrup
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ras el hanout (Moroccan spice available in most supermarkets)
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
Small pinch of saffron threads
1/4 teaspoon salt
100 ml water
100 g raisins soaked in 100 ml freshly squeezed orange juice
1/2 teaspoon preserved lemon paste or 1/2 a preserved lemon, finely chopped
1 can chickpeas, drained
Over a medium heat, add the margarine and oil to a large saucepan, and when the margarine has melted, add the onions and the salt. Stir for a couple of minutes to start the onions softening and then add the cinnamon stick.
Now, turn the heat down to low and continue to cook the onions for 25-30 minutes, stirring frequently, so that the onions can break down and caramelise.
Next, add the rest of the spices and the water and stir well. Cover and continue to simmer on a low heat for a further 40-45 minutes. Be sure to check on the onions occasionally and give them a stir.
Remove the lid and add the raisins, orange juice and agave. Stir well and continue to cook uncovered for a further 15 minutes until the onions are very soft and golden.
Add the preserved lemon paste and the chickpeas, stir well, and give a final simmering of around 10 minutes until everything is soft and sticky.
Serve over freshly steamed couscous.