Chermoula is a pungent North African sauce, traditionally served with grilled fish and seafood. It’s a delicious blend of earthy spices, smoky sweet paprika with salty citrus notes and a hint of chilli. I like mine with a few drops of orange blossom water, which adds a delicate floral note to compliment the heady spice mix and hints to its Moorish roots. You can make it in advance or in larger batches as it keeps for several days in the refrigerator.




Less than 30 minutes


Less than 15 mins


Super easy


4 red snapper (approx. 250g each)

8 large (shell-on) prawns

For the Chermoula:

2 tablespoon Roasted cumin

1½ tablespoon coriander seeds, ground

3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

2 cm piece fresh ginger

2 tablespoon sweet paprika

½ tablespoon Urfa chilli flakes

1½ lemons, juiced

2 Preserved lemons, de-seeded, minced

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1½ tablespoon Orange blossom water

150ml olive oil

To serve:

2 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely cut


To make the Chermoula, place the spices, preserved lemon, salt and garlic into a pestle and mortar and pound to a fine paste. Alternatively blitz in a food processor. Stir in the olive oil, lemon juice and orange blossom water and transfer to a clean jar.

Marinade the fish in 2 tablespoons of Chermoula and chill in the fridge for an hour or two.

Set your barbecue up for direct cooking and when your lumpwood coals are glowing white hot with red centres, your good to go. Season a cast iron searing grid by lightly dipping a wad of thick paper towels in oil; and holding the wad with tongs, wipe the grate several times, re-dipping the towels in oil between applications, until the grid is black and glossy. The process should reduce the chance of the fish sticking to the grid.

Place the fish diagonal to grid slats and cook for 4-5 without moving, until the skin begins crisp up. Gently turn the fish over using a slotted fish turner. If the fish doesn’t cleanly lift off the grid, continue to cook, checking back every 30-seconds until they cleanly come away. Be patient otherwise they will stick.

Add the prawns and cook for 2 minutes on either side or until the tails begin to catch and char and remove the red mullet, when the skin is crisp and the flesh is opaque.

Transfer to a warm platter, spoon over some more chermoula sauce and scatter with some fresh parsley.

Recipe by James Walters, self-taught chef and founder of Arabica.