Thursday, May 7, 2009

CHARMOULA creates a symphony of flavours!


Want an easy way to punch up flavour to your meat, chicken, fish, vegetables and even pasta? Make up some Charmoula. This simple blend of spices creates a symphony of flavours for anyone who loves great flavour in their food!
Charmoula’s origin is from North Africa and is an aromatic blend of spices that can transform chicken, meat or fish into a memorable dish your friends and family will adore.

All the spices in Charmoula are readily available at the local grocery. The blend varies from cook to cook but most blends include garlic, lemon juice, parsley, cumin, cilantro, sweet paprika, salt, pepper and olive oil with a pinch of cayenne. I like using a mortar and pestle but there is no panic if you do not have one; simply use a food processor.

Charmoula can be made on a weekend and stored in the refrigerator for up to a week or pop in ice cube trays, freeze then put the ‘Charmoula cubes’ in a freezer bag which provides instant flavour for many dishes!

This versatile seasoning can be used as a quick marinade for fish or a rub for chicken, as a finishing sauce for any meat and vegetables, or as a dip with crusty bread. Add a tablespoon of Charmoula to mayonnaise or yogurt and serve with your favourite grilled fish…this is so simple and tasty! Drop a tablespoon of Charmoula into a vegetable or chicken soup or a pasta dish. It doesn’t matter is the pasta or soup is cream or broth based you have boasted lovely flavour into your meal.

Charmoula is easy to make, simple to use and livens up simple foods you are used to preparing with a fresh pungent flavour.

Charmoula ingredients
6 Tbsp garlic, mashed
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp Sea salt
Pinch of cayenne (or to taste)
1/2 tsp cracked fresh pepper
1 cup fresh chopped parsley
1/ 2 cup fresh chopped cilantro
6 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
Zest of 1 lemon (zest the lemon first)
4 tbsp olive oil

Using a mortar and pestle, (or food processor), grind mashed garlic, chopped parsley, cilantro and lemon zest to a coarse mixture. Stir in the lemon juice, zest, paprika, cayenne, cumin, and mash enough to mix together.
Slowly pour in the olive oil while blending to emulsify; add salt and pepper.

Yields: approximately 2/3 cup or 6 oz. Unless a recipe calls for a specific amount, use 1 tbsp. per portion serving in each recipe.

Optional ingredients to add are: turmeric, couple of teaspoons of honey, 1 dried bay leaf, crumbled and a pinch of saffron.