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Chermoula

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TasunkaWitko View Drop Down
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    Posted: 12 March 2013 at 11:56

Here's some background information from Wikipedia:

Quote Chermoula or charmoula is a marinade used in Algerian, Moroccan and Tunisian cooking. It is usually used to flavor fish or seafood, but it can be used on other meats or vegetables. Chermoula is often made of a mixture of herbs, oil, lemon juice, pickled lemons, garlic, cumin, and salt. It may also include onion, fresh coriander, ground chili peppers, black pepper, or saffron. There are many different recipes that use different spices, and the proportions vary widely. In most recipes, the first two ingredients are garlic and coriander. A Moroccan version comprises dried parsley, cumin, paprika and salt and pepper. It is the original seasoning for grilling meat and fish in Moroccan cuisine.

I can't vouch for the authenticity, but here's what looks to be a pretty good recipe for chermoula; I found it on the internet, but can't quite remember where - my apologies to the author:

Quote [There are] lots of regional variants [on chermouola] but heres mine. It can be made as a marinade for baking chicken or fish or tweaked a bit for red meats. I make this version, loosen it with a bit of white wine, lather it over big chunky fish or chicken & bake it. I'm sure you...can adapt it to your cooking style.

I bunch flat leaf parsley
1 bunch of cilantro (coriander)
4 cloves garlic
1 red onion or an equal amount shallots
Dried red chili soaked in hot water for a bit (how much chili is up to you).

Whiz this up roughly in food processer, then add

1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon ground coriander seed
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon tumeric
1 teaspoon of ground fennel seed

Then add the juice & zest of 2 lemons - or rind of preserved lemon if you have it and a healthy splash of olive oil.

Whiz in the food processor again. The mix should be wet so add a little white wine if you like; it can be used as a dipping sauce if you like, but make it a bit thicker and leave out the wine.

Notes: You can toast the whole spices for added depth. I like my chermoula green, so I use big bunchs of herbs. You can also add fresh mint if you like or a teaspoon of ras el hanout but I think thats overkill. I think it helps to let it sit for a bit before using it. Add extra garlic and/or chili if you want. It will keep well if you put it in a container with a layer of olive oil on top, then refigerate.

I bake marlin/swordfish/hapuka in this mix or put it on chicken halfway through cooking if grilling, or at the start if baking. I wouldnt let fish marinade for long.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 March 2013 at 12:40
There are likely as many versions of chermoula as there are Moroccan cooks, Ron. So who's to say what's "authentic." Basically, it's an herb blend, similar to the South American chimichurra and the Italian pesto.
 
While most often used as a marinade, it's also used as a sauce, added to tagines (particularly fish tajines) just before serving.
 
I only have one issue with the above recipe: I can't imagine not toasting the whole spices before using them. To me it's not an option.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 March 2013 at 12:46
Tas & Brook ..
 
 
Very common in various regions of Iberian; as it is the Godfather of Romesco and is predominately used with Medit. fish ...
 
Romesco hails from its Padrino .. employing ground hazelnuts, dry red chili pepper and smoked paprika in both Iberia and Morocco !
 
Also note: it is prepared with  dried red chile pepper or red chili flakes in Morocco  of course.
 
 
I shall give it a whirl with pictorial and red chili pepper !
 
Kind regards.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote africanmeat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 March 2013 at 02:54
TThanks Ron it looks great.
chermoula is a great marinade or sauce. i use it on chicken http://foodsoftheworld.activeboards.net/chicken-chermoula_topic2240.html
i do a great carrot chermoula .
as Brook said there are many recipes for it but most of the Original don't have alcohol in them.
as Morocco is a Muslim country  and alcohol is Prohibited (halal).

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 March 2013 at 08:02
Good point about the wine, Ahron ~ if I were to make this, I'd omit the wine.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 March 2013 at 08:33
I missed that bit about wine, the first read. Absolutely vorbotten!
 
One thing that bugs me with the TV chefs is when they make what purposts to be a Moroccan or North African dish, and it includes wine, or they serve wine with it. Even worse was the "pork tajine" one of them made. Say what!
 
What made it funny was that Dan and I had discussed that very thing a few weeks before the show aired.
 
Fact is, if the herbs are fresh the chermoula shouldn't need any loosening up. But if it does, a bit more of the lemon juice or olive oil will do the trick.
 
FWIW, Paula Wolfert's version uses both lemon juice and vinegar.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 March 2013 at 12:21
Brook - considering Wolfert's expertise on the subject, if you want to provide her version, I'd be more than happy to replace the existing one in the opening post with hers; at the very least, we can have her version on the thread as an alternative recipe.
 
Ahron - I'm not sure if you saw this, but it seems similar to your carrot chermoula:
 
 
 
It might be worth a look! Tongue
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 March 2013 at 14:40
I wouldn't replace it, Ron. Paula's version is just another option, and, with both of them posted, provides another example of the many variations found in North Africa.
 
Paula Wolfert's Charmoula
 
1/2 cup green coriander leaves, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup parsley leaves, coasely chopped
4-5 cloves garlic, peeled
2 tbls vinegar, preferabley mild
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 heaping tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cumin
Cayenne to taste (optional)
 
In a mortar and pestle blend the herbs with the garlic and vinegar until pasty. Dup into a mixing bowl. Stir in lemon juice, salt, and spices.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote africanmeat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 March 2013 at 23:36
Ron It looks very similar to my chermoula I just put more cilantro (more no more ) .have a look at this
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wU0Xpy6CUQw
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 March 2013 at 07:53
Excellent, Ahron - and I love the way he slices the carrots ~ I will have to give this a try sometime this springtime! Thumbs Up
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 March 2013 at 10:13
In keeping with the idea that there's no one chermoula, both Fiona Dunlap (The North African Kitchen) and Ghillie Basan (Tagine: Spicy Stews From Morocco), among others, do not provide a single, "universal" recipe. Instead, each of their recipes using a chermoula has it listed as part of that particular dish.
 
One that caught my eye especially comes from Ghillie Bason, in her Baked Tagine of Lamb with Quinces, Figs, and Honey recipe. What marks it as different? The chermoula has honey as part of the ingredients. Here's the recipe:
 
4 garlic cloves, chopped
A 1 1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1 red chile, seeded and chopped
1 tsp sea salt
A small bunch of cilantro, chopped
A small bunch of fresh flatleaf parsley, chopped
2-3 tsp ground coriander
2-3 tsp ground cumin
3 tbls olive oil
2 tbls dark honey
Juice of 1 lemon
 
Using a mortar and pestle, pound the garlic, ginger, chile and salt to form a coarse paste. Add the cilantro and parsley and pound into the paste. Beat in the ground coriander and cumon, and bind with the olive oil, honey, and lemon juice. (Alternatively, you can whizz all the ingredients in an electric blender).
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 March 2013 at 11:12
In Port Caesarea, Israel, they prepare a Chili Pepper Pesto which is called Shatta and it is commonly used as a side accompanient with grilled lamb ... Here is the recipe my daughter Nathalia had given me when she returned from a business trip to Port Haifa, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
 
1 cup fresh minced cilantro
1 cup fresh minced parsley
1/4 minced fresh red chilie pepper or red chilie flakes
1/8 cup chilled water gradually added
1/4 cup Evoo ( extra virgin olive oil )
1 1/2 tblsps. minced garlic
1 Tsp. salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. ground cumin
 
COMBINE ALL THE INGREDIENTS IN A FP an blend until very combined in Pesto and refrigerate 3 to 4 hours and then, served in pesto type holder with a tiny spoon ...
 
It is fabulous with lamb.
 
Enjoy;
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 March 2013 at 12:58
Interesting, Margi. Sub lemon juice for the water in that recipe and you've got a basic chermoula.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 March 2013 at 14:01
Brook. Shall use fresh lemon juice .. I was going to prepare Tas' except add chili dry & smoked paprika ...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Melissa Mead Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 February 2017 at 11:33
Today I got some chermoula and preserved lemons made by this couple: http://www.tarakitchen.com/

I'm looking forward to trying them.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 February 2017 at 08:18
Nice score, Melissa. I didn't even know chermoula was available commercially. After all, it's so easy to make fresh as you need it.

I would recommend that you taste the chermoula right out of the jar. That will give you an idea of the many possibilities for its use.

Plus, of course, lots of the recipes in the North African forum lend themselves to those products. You're gonna have fun with them.

I'm a bit concerned, though, for the preserved lemons, given your low-salt tolerance. Preserved lemons really are nothing more than lemons and salt. Lots of salt. So tread carefully.
But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Melissa Mead Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 February 2017 at 20:36
A restaurant in Schenectady produces both the chermoula and the lemons, and I was pleasantly surprised that the sodium count wasn't that bad.

I made up a version of "Moroccan-ish" chicken stew tonight. I've never had real Moroccan food, so I don't know how authentic it is, but I liked it:

Moroccan-ish Chicken Stew
Ingredients:
3-4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (I started with 4, but dropped one.)
2 large onions, sliced
1 28-oz can low-sodium chunky crushed tomatoes
1 can low-sodium chickpeas
1 chunk of preserved lemon, minced
A generous tbsp of parsley chermoula
About 1 tsp each minced garlic and Ras el Hanout.
Cooked couscous, for serving

Brown the chicken in a little olive oil. Once it starts rendering, brown the onions too. Add everything else. (Including the liquid from the cans. I rinsed the tomato can with a little low-sodium chicken broth.)
Stir. Cook until the chicken shreds easily. Put shredded chicken back in pot. Stir. Get everything nice and hot. Serve over couscous.

 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Melissa Mead Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 February 2017 at 20:38
Oh, and I did taste the chermoula straight. strong stuff! Not bad on a bread-and-butter sandwich, either.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 February 2017 at 07:59
Sounds good, Melissa. Probably not "authentic" Moroccan (whatever that means), but the flavor profile is right. Perhaps a bit of cilantro to round it out?

What you put together are the ingredients for a classic tajine.

Only significant difference is that with a tajine the chicken wouldn't be cooked that far. And pre-browning isn't usual with Moroccan food.

All in all, I'd say a job well done!

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Melissa Mead Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 February 2017 at 11:40
Thanks!

I'm one of those people for whom cilantro tastes like soap. I did consider adding some coriander or cumin, but decided not to.
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