Karen Martini's barbecued prawns with chermoula

Grilled prawns with chermoula.
Grilled prawns with chermoula. Photo: William Meppem

This chermoula is based on a recipe I picked up in Morocco. There’s no single way to make this North African paste – there are many variants incorporating different ingredients and spices. It’s fabulously versatile: use it as a marinade, finishing sauce or condiment. Here, dressing the piping-hot prawns in the chermoula releases all its aromatic flavour while being gentle enough to preserve all its bright, herby freshness.


20 medium-large green prawns

30ml extra virgin olive oil

For the chermoula

½ bunch coriander, leaves and fine stems picked and roughly chopped

2 long red chillies, de-seeded and finely diced

2 small garlic cloves, finely grated

20g turmeric, peeled and finely grated (or 1 tsp ground turmeric)

2 tsp ground cumin

2 tsp salt flakes

1 tsp ground black pepper

4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 tbsp water

juice of 1 lemon


1. Preheat the barbecue or a grill pan on high.

2. Combine all the chermoula ingredients – except the lemon juice – in a medium bowl and mix well.

3. Peel the middle section of the prawns, leaving the tails and the heads intact, then devein. (Make a small incision at the back of the head and gently pull the vein through.)

4. Coat the prawns with the oil, then season. Grill for about 2 minutes each side until just cooked.

5. Meanwhile, stir the lemon juice through the chermoula.

6. Pile the prawns onto a serving platter, pour over the chermoula, and serve. Serve this dish as a starter with soft flatbread to mop up the juices, or pair it with hot cous cous for a more substantial offering.