Chermoula Sauce

What would life be without chermoula sauce!! I absolutely love it! Chermoula is a Middle Eastern condiment that includes coriander, lemon, olive oil and garlic and chili. There are many variations, of course. I've seen sesame seeds, parsley and coriander seeds in other recipes, all of which taste wonderful. 

Chermoula is delicious used a sauce with tagines, fish or chicken or even just on pitta bread as a starter. It can also be used as a marinade - but I personally prefer the fresh taste and tangy taste of it when served as a sauce with the meal.

Chermoula sauce in a blue bowl.

Conscious Eating Notes

Cilantro - photo by Stacy from Flickr.

Cilantro is slightly cool in nature, neutral and pungent. It encourages sweating and strengthens digestion. Cilantro is green and grows upward on stalks, which shows a connection to the Wood element.

Lemons by Abhijit Tembhekar on Flickr.

This recipe also includes lemon, which is sour and associated with the Wood element. Lemons are great for balancing Liver and Gallbladder energy - whether they are Excess or Deficient.

Red Chilies by Peter.Lorre on Flickr.

Chermoula also includes chili, which is quite heating. If you live in a cold and damp climate, chili is great because it clears fluid retention, dampness and cold. This aids good digestion. Can also help with joint pain. Caution: do not eat too much! It's easy to bring heat in.

Garlic by AJ Cann on Flickr.

 Garlic which is hot and pungent. Garlic cleanses the Liver. Using garlic with cilantro balances yin and yang. Garlic also boosts the immune system.

Overall, chermoula is fine to use in small quantities at any time, and I sometimes use it consciously to help to balance my Wood energies. If I feel clogged up, as though my energy is not moving well, or if I feel angry or frustrated, my Wood energy needs to move. Chermoula moves energy.

For me personally, using chermoula with Earth balancing foods works very well. For example, chermoula with lentil burgers, kosheri or ginger lentils.

Recipe Notes

Ingredients for chermoula sauce. Cilantro, red chili, garlic, cumin seeds, salt, olive oil, lemon.

I have seen recipes which use cayenne pepper instead of a fresh chili - which certainly makes it easier to make - but I much prefer the fresher taste of a real live chili. 

The original recipe calls for saffron - but I never use it. The other flavours are so strong that I can't tell the difference when I leave it out - and it is quite expensive.

Chermoula sauce is best served fresh, as soon as possible after making. After a while, the leaves of the coriander start to brown and it's not quite as attractive. It's certainly still tasty the next day though! On the rare occasion that there is any left, we put it in a small covered container and have it the next day in sandwiches. 

The book that I have taken this recipe from is: Vegetarian Tagines and Couscous by Ghillie Basan. It's a truly fantastic book. I've cooked many of the recipes from this book and I love it! 

Chermoula Sauce Recipe

3 cloves chopped garlic
1 red chilli (or half if they're really hot),
de-seeded and finely chopped
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 teaspoon salt
1 large bunch coriander leaves, finely chopped
Juice of one lemon
4 tablespoons olive oil

Chermoula sauce in a silver bowl.
Chopped garlic, cumin seeds, red chilies and salt in a pestle and mortar.

1. Put the chopped garlic, chopped chili, cumin seeds and salt into a pestle and mortar

Pounded red chilies, salt, cumin seeds and garlic after it forms a coarse paste in the pestle and mortar.

2. Pound  together until they make a coarse paste. 

Cilantro in pestle and mortar.

3. Add the coriander and pound that until it makes a paste.

Chermoula being made in pestle and mortar. Lemon and olive oil have just been added.

4. Add the lemon and olive oil and stir it all together.

Put it in a little serving bowl and serve as soon as possible.

Chermoula sauce in a green glass dish.

Photo Credits and Copyright:

Cilantro by Stacy. License: Creative Commons 2.0
Lemon by Abhijit Tembhekar. License: Creative Commons 2.0
Chili by Peter.Lorre. License: Creative Commons sa 2.0
Garlic by A J Cann. License: Creative Commons 2.0

All other photos copyright Rebecca Hunter, Lady Lentil.

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