Chermoula is a blend of hardy flavors like cumin,  paprika and onion balanced by the freshness of  parsley and cilantro plus garlic and cayenne pepper. The basic idea is to form a thick paste that will be used as a marinade before grilling or baking the fish, or as a condiment at the table. Chermoula is classically a mix of fresh cilantro (a.k.a. coriander), garlic, and spices, bound together with lemon juice and olive oil and applied as a dressing or used to marinade fish and chicken before lightly cooking. The resulting emerald green condiment accomplishes its mission remarkably well: its fresh, tangy, earthy notes, and its lingering heat make it flamboyantly flavorful . Other uses include spreading it on slices of baguette, or mixing it with good-quality canned tuna for an elevated tuna sandwich. Marinate meat or firm fish like tuna in chermoula for 20-30 minutes before pan-frying, grilling or barbequing. Chermoula also goes nicely with lamb.

Basic Recipe for Chermoula

bowl of bright green chermoulaIngredients:
1/2 an onion finely chopped
1 tsp fresh coriander leaves
2 tsp of chopped fresh parsley
1 clove of garlic, crushed
3 tsp ground cumin seed
2 tsp mild paprika
1 tsp turmeric
1 pinch each of cayenne pepper, black pepper and salt

Method: Combine ingredients and use immediately.

Chermoula with Ras el Hanout

1 red onion, roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
90g coriander, including stalks, washed and roughly chopped
150g Italian parsley, including stalks, washed and roughly chopped
1 heaped teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1½ tablespoons ground chilli
1 tablespoon ground turmeric
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
1½ tablespoons ras el hanout
185ml extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1 lemon

Put all the ingredients except olive oil and lemon in processor and blend for a minute, or until the mix is finely chopped. Drizzle in the oil slowly, until a thick paste forms. Stir through the lemon juice. Refrigerate under a film of olive oil until ready to use (to stop discolouration). This makes about 2 cups of Chermoula. As a rough guideline, for marinating 500g of meat I would use about a third to a half a cup of Chermoula.

Photo by Tatiana Yalovaya / CC BY-SA (