Thursday, 16 November 2017


“A little imagination goes a long way in Fes.” – Tahir Shah 

Chermoula (Arabic: شرمولة‎‎) or charmoula is a marinade and dressing used in Algerian, Libyan, Moroccan and Tunisian Cuisine. It is traditionally used to flavour fish or seafood, but it can be used on various meats or vegetables. While there many versions of this, with more or less local embellishments, a basic recipe contains garlic, cumin, coriander, oil, lemon juice, and salt. Variations may also include pickled lemons, onion, ground chili peppers, black pepper, saffron, and other herbs.

Chermoula recipes vary widely by region. In Sfax, Tunisia, chermoula with cured salted fish is often prepared during Eid al-Fitr. This regional variety is composed of dried dark grape purée mixed with onions cooked in olive oil and spices such as cloves, cumin, chili, black pepper, and cinnamon. A Moroccan version comprises dried parsley, cumin, paprika and salt and pepper.

We had this at a friend’s home, where she served the chermoula with marinated eggplant that had had been subsequently grilled. It was delicious. We tried her recipe at home, but modified it slightly according to our taste. There are specially prepared chermoula spice mixtures available and you may use those, however, we always like preparing our own herb/spice mixes. 

1 cup packed fresh, tender coriander leaves
1/2 cup packed, fresh, continental parsley leaves
4 medium cloves garlic, peeled
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp paprika
1 tsp sumac powder
2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/8 tsp crushed saffron
2/3 cup olive oil
Salt, to taste 

Place coriander, parsley, and garlic in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse until all ingredients are finely chopped, stopping to scrape down sides of bowl as necessary.
Add lemon juice, paprika, sumac, cumin, cayenne, and saffron and pulse to combine.
With motor running, drizzle olive through feed tube. Process until sauce is uniform. Use immediately or transfer to an airtight container and store in refrigerator for up to 2 days.

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