Makes about 3/4 cup (125g), enough for 4 – 6 servings
There are no stores that sell spicy chili peppers near my place, so I went with Thai chili paste, which reflects 1) My multicultural leanings, and 2) My unique ability to make do in a variety of situations. If you have fresh chiles, feel free to use a favorite one (depending on your comfort with heat), chopped and seeded, in place of the chili paste. If you have neither, a dash of cayenne or red chili flakes will add some heat. Some people add preserved lemon to chermoula. I can’t say I prefer it, as I find that it muddies the taste. But you can add some if you’d like. I’ve seen other versions with fresh dill, ginger root, onions, and coriander seeds. So feel free to play around with it. You can use a mortar and pestle to make chermoula, a mini-chopper, or the small bowl of a food processor, if you have one. Just a dab of this hot sauce is all that’s needed to enliven a dish. I also imagine it’d make a pretty nice sauce for a simple pasta. This recipe can easily be doubled.
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/3 cup (15g) coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/3 cup (15g) 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 (90 to 125ml) to 8 olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon chili paste (or 1/2 to 1 fresh chile seeded and chopped)
1. 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.
2. 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 (90ml) olive oil, salt, chili paste, and toasted cumin. Grind until smooth.
3. Taste and add the additional teaspoon of lemon juice and the rest of the olive oil (or more), if necessary, so the sauce is a loose paste.

Storage: Chermoula can be made a few days in advance and refrigerated. It will keep in the refrigerator for up to three days.