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About the Recipe

Pickley-spicy Moroccan sauce in red or green versions.

Chermoula (Berber: tacermult or tacermilt, Arabic: شرمولة‎) or charmoula is a marinade and relish used in Algerian, Libyan, Moroccan and Tunisian cooking. The exact ingredients vary from one place to another, but they generally include cumin, lemon, garlic, cilantro/coriander and olive oil. .  Chermoula has a unique, slightly spicy, and earthy taste that contrasts the taste of fresh herbs. It has a mildly thick texture with a great and sweet flavor that easily blends and enhances the taste of the food it is slathered on.   It is traditionally used to flavor fish or seafood, but it can be used on other meats or vegetables.


Makes 4-5 cups

There are many different recipes that use different spices, and the proportions vary widely.

  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt

  • 2 tablespoons sweet paprika

  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika

  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin

  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic

  • ¼ cup coarsely chopped flat leaf parsley

  • ¼ cup coarsely chopped cilantro

  • 2 tablespoons chopped preserved lemon rind

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 cup water

  • 1 cup tomato puree

  • ¼ teaspoon saffron threads

  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne


  1. Put the salt and all of the spices in a medium bowl and whisk together to combine. Add the garlic, parsley, cilantro, lemon rind, and lemon juice, then whisk in the oil, water, and tomato puree.

  2. In a saucepan over medium heat, simmer the red charmoula sauce, stirring often to prevent scorching, until reduced by one-fourth, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the heat.

A delicious mix of fresh herb, earthy spices, and acidic preserved lemon. It does not take long to make as it comes from a rustic way of cooking that doesn’t draw on complicated techniques to achieve its complex flavors. 

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