Chermoula or charmoula is one of those sauces whose taste after it has been applied to a dish for the first time makes you wonder where it has been all this time. It is a North African-inspired relish or condiment whose elegance, versatility, and great taste have made it popular in kitchens. It is often used as a condiment for seafood, chicken, vegetables, or beef.
Chermoula is made from a mixture of Moroccan spices like cumin, paprika, saffron, salt, ground chili pepper, hot pepper, with finely chopped garlic, onion, parsley, and coriander. Preserved lemon juice and olive oil are added to complete the ingredients.
What does chermoula taste like? 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 possesses a strong and acidic flavor that results from the addition of preserved lemon juice.
Chermoula comes in different hues depending on what ingredient was added and intended use. It can either be green, red, or yellow.
The preparation of chermoula is stress-free and takes a very short period. It makes an excellent food choice for vegetarians, veg-lovers, and beef lovers. An added advantage in the preparation of chermoula is that its ingredients do not need pre-cooking.
Nutritional Benefits of Chermoula
Chermoula is an excellent source of health-benefiting micronutrients. It contains a substantial amount of vitamin A, vitamin K, iron, manganese, vitamin E, and omega 3 ALA. Phytochemicals like myricetin and quercetin are also abundantly present in chermoula.
Two teaspoons of chermoula sauce contain 19.29g of vitamin K which is 19% of the daily required intake. It plays an important role in the circulatory system and the formation of bones. When a blood vessel is injured, it helps prevent excessive bleeding. Consumption of Chermoula also helps strengthen various cells in the body against disease, enhances the performance of the immune system, and improves skin health.
The addition of this Moroccan condiment provides the body with 8% of the healthy required intake of iron. This boosts the process of cell division and the formation of red blood cells. It also helps to reduce tiredness while working, reducing the risk of iron deficiency anemia. Its function also extends to faster processing of information by the brain, thereby boosting effectiveness.
Recent researches have shown that heart disease and its failure eventually can be associated with inactivity of the body, and consumption of food high in fat and cholesterol. The omega 3 ALA in chermoula helps in contributing to the normal functioning of the heart, facilitates uniform distribution of blood to various parts of the body and heart, and also helps in maintaining normal blood cholesterol levels.
The abundance of myricetin and quercetin in chermoula provides protection against cardiovascular disease, reduces the risk of diabetes, protects the liver and kidney from damage, and helps suppress allergies like asthma and hay fever.
Culinary Uses of Chermoula
Chermoula sauce is used as a foundation for a lot of North African cuisines. It can be used to marinate beef, chicken, and shellfishes. To make this, add a little amount of water to the mixture of chermoula ingredients to thin it out and place your chicken in it for at least a day. Drizzle it with olive oil and sprinkle it with pepper or salt. You can then proceed to grill or bake the soaked chicken to your liking.
Chermoula can be used to boost the taste of foods used as party appetizers. Cut a freshly baked whole baguette into equal parts and apply chermoula on both sides. Pastrami, arugula, goat cheese, iceberg lettuce, and beef can be added to make it an innovative party-friendly sandwich. Eat it with a bottle of wine or soda.
Mix a cup of full-fat Greek yogurt with 3 tablespoons of chermoula, olive oil, lime juice, salt, and pepper to prepare a dipping sauce. The sauce can be eaten with a variety of vegetables and chips.
Chermoula also blends well with the taste of couscous, rice, and potato. Cook a pot full of rice with a teaspoon of chermoula and add grilled steak. Top it with fresh cilantro and lime wedges to complement its taste.
Where Did Chermoula Originate From? How Do You Procure It?
Chermoula has been an essential condiment in North Africa for a very long time. It is believed to have originated from Morocco and spread to other African countries like Tunisia, Libya, and Algeria. Its recipe varies directly by the region it was produced.
Preserved chermoula sauce can be bought in jars in supermarkets and convenience stores. It can also be easily prepared at home.
To prepare it at home, place coriander and cumin in a small skillet and allow it to heat up for about 2 minutes. Allow it to cool off and grind it in a spice grinder. You can then combine the finely ground seed with cilantro, parsley, paprika, preserved lemon juice, and other preferred ingredients. Drizzle the mixture in oil and scrape the chermoula into a bowl. Season it with salt and pepper to spice it up.
Excess chermoula can be refrigerated for about 3 months before going bad. Light grease an ice cube tray and spoon chermoula paste into each cube compartment.
Can Chermoula Be Used as a Substitute for Ras El Hanout?
Yes, you can. Chermoula gives a tastier and sweet taste when compared to ras el hanout. The Moroccan variant of chermoula has ras el hanout added to it as an extra spice blend.
Facts You Didn’t Know About Chermoula
- Some regions in Tunisia use the condiment with cured salted fish to prepare dishes for Eid-al-Fitr.
- It is pronounced chur-mow-la in Tunisia and Algeria.
- Chermoula is derived from the Arabic word ‘chermel’ which means marinating or rubbing something with a spice mix.