Chermoula is used as a marinade, a seasoning rub but also as a sauce or condiment served on the side. With that in mind, you can use it to:
marinate raw meat, fish, poultry or vegetables;
baste ingredients as they cook;
lift a sauce in a stew or tagine by adding it to simmering cooking liquids;
serve alongside grilled vegetables or fish or meat, a bit like a chimichurri or a sauce vierge.
The best chermoula is made using a pestle and mortar after first chopping all ingredients to release their oils. However, for a large batch or if you don’t have the magic mortar, a blender or food processor will do. In that case, you might need to add some olive oil or tiny bit of water to help with blending.
3 cups fresh coriander (cilantro), – roughly chopped,
1 cup fresh flat leaf parsley, – roughly chopped, leaves only
6 to 8 cloves garlic, – peeled and roughly chopped
1 tsp salt
1 T. ground cumin
1 T. sweet paprika, – powder or paste
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 T. water – optional not needed if using a pestle and mortar
Optional ingredients depending on recipes
1 T. tomato paste – (double it for a red chermoula)
5 T. lemon juice, – freshly squeezed
1 tsp harissa paste, – or to taste
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground turmeric – (for a yellow chermoula)
1 small preserved lemon, seeds removed – (for a lemony chermoula)
Roughly chop the herbs and crush the garlic, then follow one of the methods below.
Using a Food Processor: Place the herbs and the rest of the ingredients in the blend. Give a few pulses until you are satisfied with the texture. To help with blending, you can thin the mixture with a few T. of olive oil, water or a mix of the two.
Using a Mortar and Pestle (Mehraz): Start by pounding garlic and salt. Add the chopped herbs and spices in batches and pound until you are happy with the texture. Note: It is important to chop the herbs properly before crushing them with the pestle, otherwise you will end up with a stringy chermoula.
Use immediately or store in a jam jar or similar sealed container. If the paste is quite thick, you could top it off with olive oil. Keep in the fridge for up to a week.