Diet, food, recipe, Traditional Chinese Medicine

Preserved lemons: I just can’t get enough – so here’s two recipes

I am fairly new to the preserved lemon.  I stumbled across a recipe a few years ago which used this delicious, sour-salty ingredient and ever since I have been hooked.

Preserved lemons fit in really well for cooking in the winter – spring change of season.  Traditional Chinese Medicine values the salty flavour to support the water element (which is dominant in winter).  The wood element encompasses spring, and you guessed it, the corresponding flavour is sour.

You can buy them at gourmet delis and fancy supermarkets, or you can get creative and use DIY preserved lemons.

Here are two preserved lemon warm salad recipes that are perfect for spring eating:

Mediterranean eggplant salad


  • 2 large eggplants, cubed, salted, drained and dried
  • olive oil for frying
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon currants
  • 2 tablespoons slivered almonds
  • 6 roma tomatoes, quartered lengthways
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 2 red chillies, sliced finely
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • handful of parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 preserved lemon, discard flesh and slice rind finely
  • a few handfuls of baby spinach leaves


  1. Warm olive oil in pan and fry eggplant until golden in small batches.  Remove from pan and drain on paper towel.
  2. In same pan, saute cumin seeds, garlic, currants and almonds until golden.  Add tomato and oregano until browned.  Remove from heat.
  3. Add fried eggplant, chilli, lemon juice, parsley, preserved lemon and spinach to the tomato mixture.  Season with black pepper.  Allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes prior to serving.

Spicy chickpea salad


  • 400g chickpeas (tinned)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons harissa (chilli paste)
  • olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 preserved lemon, flesh discarded, rind thinly sliced
  • 2 roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1/2 yellow capsicum
  • 1 tablespoon slivered almonds
  • 2 handfuls baby spinach leaves
  • handful of coriander leaves, chopped (to garnish)


  1. Boil chickpeas for ten minutes.  Then drain.
  2. In the meantime, fry garlic in oil.  Add capsicum and onions and stir fry for ten minutes.  Remove from heat.
  3. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and garnish with coriander.

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