Chicken chermoula

Savour Moroccan style chicken fragrant with toasted spices, olives and preserved lemons
By Tamasin Day-Lewis
Chicken chermoula
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes plus marinating
  • Effort: medium



  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • bunch of flat leaf parsley, trimmed and roughly chopped
  • bunch of coriander, trimmed and roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 12 oil-cured black olives, pitted and chopped
  • 2 preserved lemons, chopped
  • olive oil
  • cayenne pepper
  • 4 chicken legs
  • black pepper

For the yoghurt sauce (optional):

  • 200 ml thick Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds, dry-fried
  • 2 tbsp chopped coriander
  • black pepper


1. Dry-fry (temper) the cumin and coriander seeds for 30-60 seconds in a small frying pan over medium heat. Once the seeds smell toasty and begin to brown, immediately remove from the heat. Then pound them together using a pestle and mortar.

2. Put the onion, garlic and chopped herbs in a food processor along with the toasted spices, ginger and paprika. Blitz until the mixture looks reasonably smooth.

3. Scrape the mixture into a bowl and add the chopped olives and preserved lemon. Stir in a bit of olive oil to slacken the mixture further to a paste. Season to taste with cayenne, salt and pepper.

4. Slash the chicken in several places to allow the flavours to penetrate.

5. Slap the paste all over the chicken, pressing it into the slashes. Cover with cling film and leave in the fridge for at least 2 hours, but overnight if you can.

6. Remove the chicken from the fridge and leave to stand for about 30 minutes to allow it to come back to room temperature before cooking.

7. Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas 6.

8. Place the chicken in a roasting pan and roast for 30-35 minutes, or until the juices run clear when the meat is pierced to the centre with a fork.

9. To make the yoghurt sauce, slacken the yoghurt with the milk, then stir in the remaining ingredients.

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