One of the best things about writing this blog is the introduction to foods and dishes that I didn’t know about beforehand. Today, I learned about chermoula! (Or charmoula – like so many words translated from the original Arabic, this one has more than one spelling.) When we decided to make our Tangy Moroccan Meatballs yesterday, I wanted to stick with the flavors of Morocco for the entire dinner. This lead us to this recipe, from a lovely site that I think I’ll visit again – Taste of Maroc.
Chermoula itself is a condiment in the pesto family in terms of texture or consistency. It is traditional to North African countries like Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, and Libya, although the Moroccans claim original ownership. It’s one of those things where there is no one single recipe – there are regional variations, as well as changes from neighbor to neighbor. The basics include fresh herbs (parsley and cilantro), olive oil, and lemon juice. The other ingredients can range from basic spices like cumin, paprika, and coriander to harissa paste to onions or even pureed grapes (Tunisian tradition)! The paprika and cumin additions we used tonight seem to be fairly common in Morocco, at least as my internet perusing has informed me.
These carrots are basically just a vessel for the chermoula. It makes them (and anything else you might feel so inclined to cover with chermoula) into a bright and herbaceous dish. These are a perfect side dish to any meat, especially something that’s heavier or spicy. Furthermore, the flavor and lovely presentation belies the fact that it really takes you no time to prepare the dish. As I was eating (and enjoying!) this last night, I also thought that it probably would be equally as delicious and maybe a little fresher tasting if we’d cooked the carrots and just topped them with the chermoula without cooking the condiment at all. Note to self for next time.
(Adapted from Taste of Maroc)
- 6 large carrots
- ~1 cup chermoula
- 6 cloves garlic, sliced
- 1 1/2 cups fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
- 1 cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp paprika
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 5 turns fresh ground black pepper
- Slice the carrots on the bias, cutting pieces roughly the size of a baby carrot.
- Steam the carrots in a pan. Depending on the size of your pan, add just enough water create a thin layer of water coating the bottom and place over medium heat. Add the carrots and cover with a lid to steam.
- Cook the carrots for ~ 8-10 minutes, until they are al dente.
- Meanwhile (or make ahead!), make the chermoula by combining all of the remaining ingredients in a food processor (or, if you’re cooler than we are and have a mortar & pestle, crush them that way!). Pulse briefly until you have a well-combined, but not obliterated sauce.
- Pour the chermoula into the pan with the carrots. Cook, with the lid on, over low heat for an additional 5 minutes.