Cumin and coriander seeds are two pillars of the North African spice blend known as chermoula. Traditionally used to enliven fish, it's also delicious on chicken, shellfish, and vegetables.
The spice blend is easily applied as a rub or mix with olive oil and lemon to make a paste, dip, or sauce.
Often linked with Morocco, chermoula is also popular in Algeria and Tunisia. This seasoning jives perfectly with the theme of National Nutrition Month®, Celebrate a World of Flavors!
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics encourages everyone to observe National Nutrition Month® in March by making healthy food and activity choices.
There are many health benefits to herbs and spices. Read on to see how easy it is to make this zippy spice mix and how its nutrition bonuses may benefit you!
Table of contents
- 2 Tablespoons cumin seeds
- 1 ½ Tablespoons coriander seeds
- 2 teaspoons black pepper
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons turmeric
- 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons ginger
- 1 Tablespoon sweet paprika
- 1 ½ teaspoons red pepper flake
- 1 ½ teaspoons dried parsley
Increase the amount of red pepper flake if you enjoy hot, spicy foods. Reduce the amount if you prefer a milder taste.
In case you have trouble finding coriander or cumin seeds, you can follow the links to purchase on Amazon. Cumin seeds are usually available at most grocery stores, but coriander seeds are often scarce.
As an Amazon affiliate, at no extra cost to you, I earn from purchases made through links on the blog. Thank you!
How to make the chermoula spice blend
Toast the seeds and coarse black pepper briefly in a small skillet.
Remove and cool briefly.
Scrape crushed seeds out of the mortar and pestle, food processor, or grinder into a one-cup container or jar. Shake well to combine.
Store in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. For best taste, use it within one year.
How to use 👀
The ratio for using Chermoula Spice Blend is two Tablespoons to one pound (2 T:1 lb.) of food.
- Dry rub: Use to make a spice crust on chicken, fish, shellfish, and other proteins. Lightly salt meat if desired before applying.
- Paste: Mix two Tablespoons of dry seasoning with one Tablespoon of olive oil and coat the surface of your meat, fish, or other food. After applying, let sturdier proteins, like chicken absorb the flavors for two to four hours in the refrigerator.
Apply to fish just before grilling.🐟
Stews, braises: Stir in one or more Tablespoons to add earthy, spicy-sweet Moroccan flavor. In the slow cooker or Instant Pot, sprinkle chermoula onto your meat. Place the meat on top of other ingredients and begin cooking.
Or, stir the spice blend into any bean, lentil, or legume creation near the start of the cooking cycle.
Sauce or Dip:
Whisk together in a small bowl.
- 4 Tablespoons Chermoula Spice Blend (half of recipe below)
- ¼ cup flat-leaf parsley or mint, or use a combination
- 2 T lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest (optional)
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, pressed or grated
- ¼ teaspoon salt (optional)
Use to dress simply grilled chicken or fish, or toss with roasted vegetables, or serve with pita or naan wedges.
Nutrition bonuses of herbs and spices in chermoula
Plant-powered health benefits to herbs and spices come from polyphenols, phytochemicals, and other compounds plants produce to fight off disease and pests.
Eating them may help protect you from chronic diseases, like heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and more. 🌿
Phenolic compounds, flavonoids, essential oils, and other plant-produced phytochemicals in herbs, spices, and other parts of plants not only add flavor to foods but are also anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anticarcinogenic.
Eastern medicine traditions have turned to the healing power of spices and plant-produced compounds for more than 1,000 years.
💪 Here are some of the ways that the spices in chermoula may enhance health:
- Black pepper (piperine): Improves the body’s absorption of nutrients and compounds found in herbs, spices, and medicines.
- Cinnamon: Anti-inflammatory, may help with blood sugar regulation.
- Cumin: High in iron, may help with weight loss.
- Garlic: Cardioprotective. Read my article on the many health benefits.
- Ginger: Reduces nausea; helps with osteoarthritis pain and inflammation.
- Parsley: Contains vitamins A, C, and K.
- Red pepper flake (capsaicin): Reduces pain; increases metabolism.
- Turmeric: Generally anti-inflammatory, it helps with osteoarthritis pain, brain health, and is cancer-fighting.
🧂 Low sodium: Chermoula Spice Blend does not include salt, so you can enjoy it when you're following a sodium-restricted eating plan. You decide exactly how much salt you want to add!
Spices are a time-tested way to make food more flavorful without adding salt. Reducing salt is recommended if you have high blood pressure.
Do dry spices offer the same nutrition as fresh ones?
More! Drying concentrates the health-promoting compounds, polyphenols, and other phytochemicals in plants.
Habitual intake is important. Use herbs and spices regularly, just like being physically active every day.
Does cooking cancel out the nutritional benefits of herbs and spices?
Cooking does not cancel the nutrition, but the way you cook can change the amount of nutrition available. Stewing, simmering, microwaving increase the number of beneficial compounds. Dry heat methods, like grilling and frying, decrease them.
How do I store chermoula spice blend and homemade spice mixes?
Store in an airtight container for six months to one year.
Read this guest post by Grace Rivers, RD, CDE, with tips on how to use Mediterranean herbs and spices to enhance your food and health. And guess what? As a traditional spicing in North Africa, Chermoula spices are Mediterranean, too!
To learn about another protective plant compound found in many foods eaten every day (like apples), read my article on quercetin.
Chermoula Spice Blend
- small skillet for toasting spices
- spatula or wooden spoon
- small food processor, coffee grinder, or mortar and pestle
- Wash hands thoroughly.
- In a small skillet over medium-low heat, toast cumin, coriander seeds, and black pepper until very fragrant, about 5 minutes. Do not brown excessively.
- Place the toasted mixture in a small food processor or coffee/spice grinder and pulse to chop. Or use a mortar and pestle to crush seed mixture.
- Pour crushed seed mixture into a jar or container with a secure lid that will easily hold one cup. Add remaining spices and herbs. Screw the lid on the jar tightly or put the lid on the container. Shake well to thoroughly combine.
- Store in a dark, cool place and use as needed. It stays fresh and full of flavor for 6 months to a year.
Copyright © 2022 Jani H. Leuschel