Moroccan Potato Salad with Chermoula is called Batata Mchermla. It’s one of my favorite starters to prepare because I can also serve it as a warm side dish instead of the usual bread for a complete meal.
The recipe is very simple as we cook diced potatoes in a chermoula sauce until they’re tender and the sauce has nearly or completely reduced. For more flavor but less on the healthy side, you can shallow fry the potatoes in olive oil until tender, then add chermoula for a few more minutes of cooking.
Adapting the Potato Salad with Chermoula
Batata Mchermla is ideally served warm or at room temperature. It all depends on the weather and your personal preferences. My family likes it warm during winter and we enjoy it room temperature or cold during summer.
Some—like me—prefer batata mchermla with a kick, so we add a touch of harissa or a pinch of cayenne (soudaniya or chaouniya) to the sauce. And, just as with the carrot or aubergine salads with chermoula, some like it generously seasoned while others prefer a lighter touch.
You can serve it dry or thin the chermoula while adding it to the potatoes in order to have a slightly saucy salad.
Moroccan potato salad with chermoula seems to be everyone's favorite in our house. Some like it without a drop of sauce left while others prefer to mash the potatoes in a reduced sauce.
It is a very easy recipe to make. You can serve it spicy hot or mild. Whichever way you choose, it's always best served the same day.
Traditionally the chermoula for this salad should be made with cilantro only. Since my chermoula recipe (link below) includes only a little parsley, we can still use it here.
Cut the peeled potatoes into cubes of about 1/4" to 1/2".
Place the cubes in a cooking pot or frying pan. Add half of chermoula and all the seasoning. Add enough water to cover all ingredients. Put a lid on and simmer on medium heat for about 7 minutes.
Add the rest of chermoula and a little water if necessary. Continue cooking, adding only a little water as needed, until the potatoes are tender and the remaining sauce is reduced.
Since potatoes tend to absorb liquid while cooling, it's okay to have ample sauce in the pan; just be sure it's reduced and not watery. The sauce also helps when we have leftovers and we want to reheat them.
Drizzle some olive oil over the potatoes before serving and decorate with some purple olives and/or preserved lemons.
You can make a quick version of this salad if you have leftover baked or steamed potatoes. Cut or coarsely break the potatoes with a fork. Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a pan and add the chermoula. Cook for a few seconds then stir in the potatoes.
Add a few tablespoons of water if needed and cover. Simmer on low heat for about 2 minutes; just enough time to allow the potatoes to infuse with chermoula.
If you do not have a batch of chermoula ready, have its ingredients ready but omit the parsley and lemon or vinegar.
Cook the potatoes with the salt, garlic and chopped coriander. When the potatoes are nearly tender, add the rest of the seasoning along with the olive oil and cook for a few minutes.