top of page

Chermoula Fishcakes

Chermoula Fishcakes, or as we call it in the Middle East... 'Chrime' (Chry...Meh), which is a slow cooked fish in a spicy tomato and garlic-pepper chili sauce. It slowly became a national staple where you can find every family enjoying this flavor packed single pan dish, on a Friday evening when the whole family is coming together after along week.


Chermoula, which is native to Libya in North Africa, is a medley (similar to chili oil) typically made of crushed garlic, paprika, cumin and caraway seeds, and it's widely used throughout the Middle East and North Africa, as a base for many sauce, but typically slow cooked tomato sauce with freshly caught local thick fish filets. This dish requires bread, as the sauce is really what it's all about here. Any freshly backed white or country bread will do, but traditionally it is eaten with some good old Challah bread, and we are nothing but suckers for traditions.

So... Let's do it!



For the Chermoula Sauce

  • 1 Garlic head chopped (10-12 cloves)

  • 1 Tbsp Cumin seeds

  • 1 Tsp Caraway seeds

  • 1 Tbsp Sweet Paprika

  • 1 Tsp crushed hot chili

  • 1 Tsp Salt

  • ½ Cup Neutral oil

For The Fishcakes

  • 1lb white fish filets cut into small 2" (5cm) cubes (firm, boneless and skinless like; cod, fluke or halibut)

  • 1 Cup fresh, chunky breadcrumbs

  • 1 Red onion, mince

  • 1-2 Chopped serrano chili

  • 1 Eggplant

  • 1 Red Bell pepper

  • 1 Green (Anaheim) pepper

  • 1 Tsp Cracked Cilantro seeds

  • 2 Large eggs

  • ½ Cup chopped Cilantro

  • ¼ Cup Chopped Dill

  • Salt and white pepper to taste

  • 3 Tbsp Neutral oil

For the Sauce

  • 1 Cup strained tomato sauce

  • 2 Tbsp Chermoula sauce

  • ½ Tsp Turmeric

  • 1 Tsp Sugar

  • 2 Tbsp Tomato paste

  • Salt + Pepper to taste

  • ½ Cup Fish stock or water

  • 1 Cup Neutral oil

For the garish

  • Dill


Step 1

The Chermoula

  • In a bowl combine all the dry ingredients

  • Add the oil to a mid-size pan over low heat

  • Add chopped garlic and gently fry till garlic become translucent

  • Pour oil and garlic into the bowl with dry ingredients and mix well

  • Allow to cool down for 1hr before use, or transfer to a jar and keep refrigerated up to 2 weeks

Step 2

The Prep

  • Cut the eggplant in half

  • Score the eggplant flesh with a knife in a criss-cross diagonal lines pattern

  • Rub the eggplant flesh with oil and coat with oil the Red and green peppers as well

  • Place on a baking sheet (place the eggplant flesh side down) and roast in a 400°F (204°C) pre-heated oven, for 35-40min

  • Remove from oven (you may have to remove green pepper first after 25min) and cover with plastic film. Allow to cool down for 20min (this will allow for you to peel the pepper skin easily)

  • Using a spoon, scoop the roasted eggplant flesh and transfer to a small bowl

  • Peel the peppers removing the skin, then coarsely chop and transfer to a small bowl

Step 3

The Fishcakes

  • Into a food processor combine the fish cubes with all other ingredients (including roasted eggplant)

  • Using the pulse action, chop and blend all ingredients into a coarse paste

  • Into a nonstick pan over medium low heat, add 3 Tbsp neutral oil

  • Wet your hands and make a patty roughly 2” x 2” or 5cm x 5cm in diameter (try not to pack them too hard)

  • Fry the Fish cake just until they start to lightly golden (1.5-2min each side)

  • Remove and set aside

Step 4

Let’s cook

  • Place a deep pan over medium high heat with 3 Tbsp neutral oil

  • Add 2 Tbsp Chermoula sauce and sauté for a quick minute

  • Add the chopped roasted peppers and fry for 2-3min

  • Add the Strained tomatoes, mix and allow to cook for 2-3min

  • Add the tomato paste and mix, allowing the paste to break into the sauce

  • Season with salt and sugar

  • Add the Fish patties into the sauce and add the fish stock or water

  • Cover and cook for 3 min then uncover and allow the sauce to lightly reduce

  • Taste and check for any flavor adjustments

  • Remover from heat

Step 5

The Set up

  • Garnish with Dill springs

  • You may also add some lemon zest if you’d like

  • This dish is best enjoyed placed table center, with some freshly baked bread or Challah bread

Bon Appétit

Link to Video Recipe