Chermoula Tempeh Bites

By • April 17, 2014 0 Comments

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Author Notes: Chermoula, an herb-filled sauce used in North African cooking, is a delicious
marinade in which to bake tempeh. These tasty morsels can be eaten alone as an hors d’oeuvre, or serve them as a main dish, along with couscous or rice. I like to pair my dishes with film, music, or book recommendations. The soundtrack for this recipe is “An Echo from the Hosts That Profess Infinitum” by Shabazz Palaces from their "Black Up" album.
Bryant Terry


Serves 8 to 12 as an hor d'oeuvre, 4 to 6 as a main dish

Chermoula Tempeh Bites

  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound tempeh, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 1/2 cups chermoula (see below)
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
  2. Warm 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until very hot but not smoking.
  3. Add the tempeh in a single layer and cook, tilting the pan to spread the oil evenly among the tempeh cubes, until golden on the bottom, 3 to 5 minutes.
  4. With a fork, turn the tempeh to the opposite side.
  5. Add another tablespoon of the oil and cook until the cubes are golden on the bottom, 3 to 5 minutes.
  6. Repeat this process until all 6 sides are golden. Transfer to a large bowl.
  7. Put the stock, chermoula, and salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat.
  8. Immediately pour three fourths of the mixture over the tempeh, reserving the remainder.
  9. Stir gently until the tempeh is evenly coated, then immediately transfer to a 2-quart baking dish, spreading the tempeh in a single snug layer.
  10. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 1 hour, until much of the sauce has been absorbed.
  11. Remove the foil, add the remaining chermoula mixture, and stir gently until evenly incorporated.
  12. Bake for 10 minutes, until warmed though. Serve at room temperature.


  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds, toasted and ground
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 teaspoon minced seeded habanero chile
  • pinches saffron threads, crumbled
  • 1 1/2 cups packed minced cilantro
  • 1/2 cup packed minced flat-leaf parsley
  1. Warm the oil in a medium sauté pan over medium-low heat.
  2. Add the onion and salt and sauté until the onion is soft, 5 to 7 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic, cumin, paprika, black pepper, and cayenne and sauté until fragrant, for 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Set aside to cool slightly, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add the lemon juice, orange juice, water, habanero, and saffron and mix until well combined.
  6. Stir in the cilantro and parsley.
  7. Taste and season with more salt if desired.
  8. Use immediately or store in a tightly sealed jar in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

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