Moroccan Kebabs with Chermoula Sauce

Moroccan Kebabs with Chermoula Sauce by Tara Teaspoonby Tara Bench
Tara Teaspoon

This is your new party-table centerpiece. Colorful and tasty skewers arranged around a dipping sauce is easy to make happen and creates a stunning platter. And the chermoula sauce (pronounced like the singer “Cher” then “moola,” like money) is expressive and lemony. The sauce is based on a Moroccan and Tunisian relish with a strong herb and spice situation. I keep the skewers of meat and veggies small so they can be bite-sized for a gathering, but you can make them more robust if you’d like to serve this recipe as a meal.


  • 1⁄2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1⁄4 cup warm water
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 1⁄2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into strips that are
  • 2 inches long and 1⁄2 inch thick
  • 2 yellow or orange bell peppers, cut into 1-inch squares
  • 2 small zucchini, thinly sliced into strips with a vegetable peeler
  • 1 (14.4-ounce) bag frozen pearl onions, thawed
  • 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes
  • 45 (6-inch) bamboo skewers, soaked in water 20 minutes
  • 1 recipe Chermoula Sauce (see below), prepared
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together turmeric and pepper with 1⁄4 cup warm water. Let sit 3 minutes. Whisk in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, the lemon juice, tomato paste, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, paprika, cumin, coriander, and cinnamon.
  2. Season chicken strips with 1 teaspoon salt and add to the marinade. Cover and refrigerate to marinate 30 minutes.
  3. In a large bowl, toss peppers, zucchini, onions, and tomatoes with remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and season with 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Thread chicken on half of the skewers and vegetables on the other half, adding several slices of zucchini to each skewer. Discard chicken marinade.
  4. Heat grill to medium-high. Grill skewers, turning occasionally, until chicken is cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes total. Remove the vegetables from the grill as soon as they are done; they will cook faster than the chicken.
  5. Serve on a platter with the chermoula sauce for drizzling and dipping.

Chermoula Sauce

this spiced herb sauce is used on fish, meat, chicken, and vegetables and has a heady and unique flavor.

  • 1⁄2 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1⁄4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 3⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup packed cilantro
  • 1 cup packed flat-leaf parsley
  • 1⁄2 cup packed mint leaves
  1. In a small skillet over medium-high heat, toast coriander and cumin seeds until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat and crush in a mortar and pestle or with the bottom of a pan.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor, combine crushed seeds, garlic, olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, paprika, salt, and red pepper flakes. Pulse to finely chop garlic. Add cilantro, parsley, and mint and blend until herbs are well combined. Store sauce in refrigerator until ready to use, up to 3 days.

Show 255, January 6, 2018: Ahmed Labatte, Partner, Vaca Restaurant Group

Ahmed LabatteChef Amar Santana and his business partner, Ahmed Labatte (Broadway by Amar Santana and Vaca in Costa Mesa) had an incredible 2017. Among other notable achievements they hosted one of the premier events celebrating the 50th Anniversary of South Coast Plaza at Vaca. It was a lavish, multi-course dinner matched with outstanding wines to benefit The James Beard Foundation.

For late 2018 their ambitious new project will be The Hall Global Eatery in South Coast Plaza. Early advance info is that it will be a Global Marketplace with multiple food counters and an exhibition kitchen.

There will be a grab-and-go market area with freshly prepared salads and sandwiches. Everything else will be prepared to order. Expect Mediterranean kebabs and Shawarma.  The location is the expansive former Z’Tejas Southwestern Grill space.

Ahmed joins us with a tantalizing sneak preview.