Chermoula is a marinade that North Africans use in their cooking. It is usually used to flavor fish or seafood, but it can be used with legume and vegetables. Very healthy.
It’s strange, for someone who grew up in a Moroccan home, I learnt about chermoula sauce in my early twenties in Cafe Mogador in the East Village (Mogador is the Moroccan city, where my maternal grandmother was from.
My mother did cook and braise many dishes with the chermoula ingredients but she didn’t grind them into a paste. Grinding the herbs and spices together creates a pesto like sauce that has a strong and rich flavor.
Cilantro and parsley are commonly used in the Moroccan kitchen. I remember as a kid that my mom always had a bunch of cilantro or parsley, or both, submerged in a bowl of water on the kitchen counter.
Moroccan tagines are usually cooked with preserved lemons, but don’t worry if you don’t have any. Instead you can add 2 teaspoons of lemon juice or one dried Persian lime. (Just poke a few holes in the Persian lime with a sharp knife before you add it to the pot.)
This is how you remove kale spine (this is when my illustration skills come in handy)
Vegetable Tagine With Chermoula Sauce
- ½ pound butternut squash - roughly diced
- 4 -6 heirloom carrots or 4 medium carrots - peeled and halved
- 10 cherry tomatoes - sliced in half
- 4 shallots - peeled
- 3 – 4 tablespoons avocado or olive oil
- 1 bunch of kale or spinach or chard - washed carefully, and spine removed)
- 2 cups cooked chickpeas or jarred
- 2 slices preserved lemons or 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- !For chermoula sauce
- Handful cilantro – washed carefully and dried - with a salad spinner or a clean kitchen towel
- Handful parsley – washed carefully and dried - with a salad spinner or a clean kitchen towel
- 1" ginger piece - peeled and chopped
- 1" turmeric root piece or ½ teaspoon ground turmeric - chopped
- 3 garlic cloves - peeled
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoons smoked paprika
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Put the vegetables except for the kale in an oven proof dish and drizzle the oil over them. Roast for 20 minutes or until the vegetables are tan but not tender.
- Meanwhile make the chermoula sauce: Put the chermoula ingredients in a food processor and process them until you get a smooth pesto like paste. Leave it aside.
- Remove the vegetables from the oven and add the the kale (No need to chop the leaves, they will shrink in the oven), chickpeas, preserved lemons and chermoula sauce, sprinkle salt and toss gently. Put the dish back in the oven for 10 more minutes or until the veggies are tender. Serve over Basmati rice, quinoa or couscous, with a tablespoon harissa on the side.