Charmoula Sauce with Tofu, Veggies, & Couscous
Charmoula (or Chermoula) is a Moroccan sauce made with garlic, lemon, cilantro, parsley, and spices that is commonly used as a marinade or sauce for fish. Here I used it as a sauce for one of my favorite meals, steamed tofu and vegetables.
I studied numerous Charmoula recipes before making this sauce, including those found in The Healthy Hedonist, Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, Vegetarian Table: North Africa, and North African Cooking. Some recipes included onions, chillies, one had ginger in place of the garlic, and there were significant differences in amounts of the various ingredients in my recipe. I have to say, I didn't carefully measure everything as I was playing with the sauce quite a bit so the below are approximations. The cookbook recipes were also for marinades (and often had a vinegar) and I wanted a sauce, so I used a lot more cilantro and parsley.
I actually made three variants, as this is a new sauce for me, and I liked all three. There's the basic recipe below; the basic recipe with tomato puree, which took the tiniest edge off the spice and added depth; and the basic recipe with sour cream, which highlighted the smokiness of the spices. This is a powerful, spicy sauce and works well with blander foods (like tofu) and sweet vegetables like carrots.
I was also inspired to pull out raw almonds. I have to say, this seemed like a winning combo to me! I can imagine thickening the sauce with some fresh ground almonds next time.
Serve with couscous and a pinch of ground cumin.
3 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 tbsp olive oil
1 bunch cilantro, leaves only, chopped
handful of parsley, leaves only, chopped
juice of two lemons
1-1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
1/16 tsp cayenne
Blend the garlic, salt and a little of the olive oil in a food processor. Add the rest of the ingredients and pulse until smooth. If desired, add either tomato puree or sour cream.