This spice-infused North African herb sauce is a staple of Moroccan cuisine. It is traditionally made with cilantro, garlic, coriander, smoked paprika, chili paste, lemon and olive oil. Chermoula has powerful detoxifying properties thanks to cilantro, which binds to heavy metals and carries them out of the body. Use chermoula as a marinade or spoon liberally over wild fish, grass-fed steaks, grilled lamb and roasted chicken – or enjoy just as it is over pasta.
Eastern View: Cilantro is a popular indian spice used in curry – and it’s also an invaluable medicine. It soothes an irritated digestive system and cools any burning sensations in the body. It’s sweet aroma can help lift the spirits and reduce depression. It is pungent, bitter and sweet and slightly oily and it reduces excess Vata and Pitta.
Cilantro also known as coriander is an excellent remedy for promoting digestion. Its especially good at building your metabolism without aggravating any acidity. It can be used safely when there is any inflammation in the digestive system and when the digestive fire needs strengthening.
It is a useful carminative herb prescribed for IBS and colic – both Vata-Pitta conditions. Both the leaf and the seed are used for digestion to clear gas, griping, and bloating.
It is also useful in the treatment of urinary tract infections such as cystitis, dysuria and cloudy urine. Its also a good remedy for diabetes and it helps reduce hot flashes.
It’s a great anti-allergenic remedy and helps with allergic rhinitis, and is especially good at clearing toxins from the skin. It has an antispasmodic effect in the lungs and acts as an expectorant to clear mucus from the lungs.
Western View: Cilantro is very low in calories and contains no cholesterol. However, its deep-green leaves possess good amounts of antioxidants, essential oils, vitamins, and dietary fiber, which may help reduce LDL or “bad cholesterol” levels in the blood.
The leaves and stem tips are also rich in numerous anti-oxidant polyphenolic flavonoids. Cilantro is also a good source of minerals like potassium, calcium, manganese, iron, and magnesium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that help regulate heart rate and blood pressure. Iron is essential for red blood cell production. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase.
It is also rich in many vital vitamins, including folic-acid, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin-A, beta carotene, vitamin-C, which are essential for optimum health. Vitamin-C is a powerful natural antioxidant. It provides about 225% of recommended daily intake. Vitamin-A, an important fat soluble vitamin and anti-oxidant, is also required for maintaining healthy mucusa and skin and is also essential for vision. Consumption of natural foods rich in vitamin-A and flavonoids (carotenes) may help protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.
Cilantro is one of the richest herbal sources for vitamin K which has a potential role in bone mass building through promotion of osteotrophic activity in the bones. It also has established role in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease patients by limiting neuronal damage in their brain.
Cilantro leaves provide only 23 calories/100 g, but their phyto-nutrients profile is no less than any superfoods around us!
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1/3 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1/3 cup coarsely chopped cilantro leaves and tender stems
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1-2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 6 tablespoons 8 olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon chili paste (or 1/2 to 1 fresh chile seeded and chopped)
Sprinkle the cumin seeds in a skillet and toast them over medium to high heat, stirring, until they smell fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Set aside.
In the bowl of a mini-chopper or food processor (or in a mortar and pestle), place the parsley, cilantro, garlic, smoked paprika, 1 teaspoon of lemon juice, 6 tablespoons olive oil, salt, chili paste, and toasted cumin. Grind until smooth.
Add the additional teaspoon of lemon juice and the rest of the olive oil (or more), if necessary, so the sauce is a smooth paste.
Add to pasta like a pesto, or add to your favorite meat. Its really good with tofu too!
You can keep your chermoula refrigerated for about 3 days.
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