Zaalouk de Chou, Zaalouk or Mderbel Mkaouar are all names for Moroccan cabbage salad with chermoula. It’s similar to a number of other salads in which cooked vegetables are smothered in chermoula during a second stage of cooking or marinating. The resulting salads are then seasoned with lemon or vinegar and served cold or at room temperature. Carrots with Chermoula and Zaalouk de chou-fleur are such variations.
The texture of the cooked cabbage in Zaalouk Mkaouar can be anywhere between roughly chopped to coarsely mashed; I prefer mashed as it absorbs more chermoula.
You can also serve the zaalouk or mderbel of cabbage as a light side dish. It can be made ahead as it will last a few days in the fridge.
Zaalouk Mkaouar or Mderbel Mkaouar is the Moroccan name for this cabbage salad with chermoula. It is another versatile and vegetarian recipe made with basic ingredients. Be sure to make the chermoula ahead of time; the link is in the instructions below.
Chermoula lifts the cabbage's flavor while a final touch with lemon or vinegar adds zingy balance, especially if you choose to make the salad slightly spicy. All these flavors come together nicely at the end.
- 1 lb white cabbage (about 1 small)
- 1/4 cup chermoula paste
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp cayenne, or harissa, to taste
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 preserved lemon rind, cut into wedges
- black olives
- parsley leaves, chopped
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp white vinegar or lemon juice, to taste
Wash the cabbage well and cut into wedges. Discard the inner core.
Simmer in boiling salted water until it becomes al dente. It should take about 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer the cabbage to a colander to drain.
When cool enough to handle, use a knife or a food processor to coarsely chop the cabbage. You can decide which texture you want to serve at this point.
Over medium heat, heat the oil in a pan. Add the chermoula, the tomato paste and the spices. Cook for 1 minute.
Fold in the cooked cabbage, cooking and stirring for about 5 minutes to combine. (I use a spatula to break up the cabbage further and allow the chermoula to be soaked in.) Season to taste then set aside to cool.
Once the cabbage has cooled, stir in vinegar or lemon juice to taste.
To serve, transfer the cabbage salad to small plates, drizzle with olive oil, and garnish as desired.
This salads keep will in the fridge for up to a week. It's ideally served at room temperature but can also be served slightly warm or cold.