Chermoula is a zesty, pungent marinade filled with a delicious blend of mixed herbs and earthy spices popular in Moroccan and North African dishes.
Chermoula adds a brightness and vibrance to foods and can be used as a tasty marinade for grilled meats. It can also be served as a condiment nestled deliciously next to your favorite dishes like fish, chicken, or tofu for my vegan friends. Traditionally it is used to flavor fish or seafood, but since when do we follow the rules? I am using it as a marinade and braise for ribeye.
Chermoula is a shot of bold and zesty. There are many variations and the ingredients change depending on the regions of North Africa. There are, however, some common ingredients and those are garlic, cumin, coriander, oil, lemon juice, and salt. Some variations of include more cilantro than others and are thicker in consistency like a pesto and some variations call for cayenne pepper while others do not.
Chermoula vs. Chimichurri
There are a few key differences between chermoula and chimichurri. Chermoula uses lemon zest and relies heavily on cilantro and mint for its flavor. Chimichurri, on the other hand, uses basil and vinegar. Both are delicious. Basically, it comes down to what spice flavors you are looking for. Chermoula incorporates Moroccan influences with a sweeter tone. Chimichurri has its roots in Argentina and has a bit of a spicier bite.
If like this recipe, you may also like:
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- 1½ cups cilantro, coarsely chopped
- 1 cup parsley, coarsely chopped
- 1 tablespoon mint, coarsely chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon lemon zest, finely grated
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 3 saffron threads, optional
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
Place all the ingredients, expect the olive oil, in a food processor bowl and pulse until a coarse paste. With the processor running, drizzle in the olive oil in a slow, steady stream. Scrape the chermoula into a medium bowl and season with salt and pepper.
Use to marinade grilled meats, a condiment to fish and poultry, or try it as a dipping sauce with tandoori nan bread.