Fried whiting with Moroccan chermoula marinade


The first day I got back home to Casablanca, I found out that my brother has bought a shocking 15 kg of whiting! There are many reasons why this crazy thing happened:
  • In the Golf countries, it’s practically impossible to find whiting fish. I used to find some of it in Dubai but coming from Europe and tasted like nothing. Since my family knows I like whiting, there was enough to eat fresh for the whole family (sisters, nephews and nieces, guests…). There was more to freeze as filets, as pieces for frying or cooking in tagine. Besides, this gives you a bargaining power: 30 dhs/ kgs instead of 60 dhs after 2 weeks later (1 euro = about 11 dhs).
  • The last 2 months while we were in Qatar, I had enough of sherri fish and hamour (types of white fish) is not my favourite. Besides that, I never developed any interest in the other types of fish. The Golf countries are surrounded by hot sea, hence the fish has a different texture than other types of seas. So let’s say we hardly had any fish.
  • I used to hate fish, my grand-father used to sell fish (does it make of him a fisherman?). However, I grew up watching my father buying it 3 times a week, cleaning and “filet” the big ones..I guess I ended up cracking and liking it. So I’m working hard to compensate for the 28 years lost in hating fish and my grand-father’s house (there was always fish at lunch time).

The recipe i’m posting today is not complicated, even if you are not fan of frying steam it or cook it in the oven as a “papillote”. But like my mother says, frying gives an extra crunch but above all, that frying taste nothing else can replace.

Tall fish cut into smaller pieces


Fried whiting, sardines and soles are parts of Moroccan street food especially around the ports. If you learn how to make Moroccan chermoula (easy to make and better with a pestle and mortar), the rest is all the same.
If you are not thinking to fry anything in your kitchen, here is a healthier version.
For 6 persons as main dish and 10 as starter
Prep: 10 min – Marinating : 2 hrs – Cooking : 15 min
  • 2 cups of coriander, finely chopped
  • 1 cup of parsley, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp harissa or chili paste (optional)
  • 1 good tbsp cumin
  • 1 good tbsp salt
  • ½  tbsp cayenne pepper
  • 3 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice of 1 big lemon
For the rest of the ingredients
  • About 2 kg of whiting (small to medium size)
  • About 2 cups of all purpose flour
  • Oil for frying
  • Lemon for serving
Make-ahead chermoula

Mix all ingredients together in a mortar and mix well. The chermoula is now ready to use.

Rub the fish with the paste and keep it in the fridge for a couple of hours or until the next day. You might want to add more olive oil to thin the marinade and make it easier to distribute over the fish.

Marinating and frying the fish
We usually put more chermoula inside the fish so it infuses inside in the “white meat” rather than the skin. In this case, you need to leave a thick paste for this (meaning no need to add extra olive oil).
At this stage, you can freeze the marinated fish to cook it for another day, just thaw it before frying.
If the fish is more than 15 cm tall, try to cut it into pieces of 10 cm tall or so because it helps manipulating it and also cooking it through properly.


I can fit the fish in my favourite fryig pan when I cut it into small pieces


Heat the oil to a frying point. In the mean time, align the fish pieces and coat them with flour. Remove any excess.
Fry each side until golden brown and cooked through. Leave space between each piece of whiting to be able to turn it while frying.


What we all love in the family: the beautiful chermoula oozing from the fried fish


Serve warm with lemon slices and a nice fresh tomato salad.

4 thoughts on “Fried whiting with Moroccan chermoula marinade

  1. Hi Nada, I find this is hilarious, and so interesting – I had no idea that something I've been making is actually known as chermoula – I usually make mine very similar, I especially like it when I have some of my home-made harissa which I love to add in :)I've always been a fan of fish to be honest – little pieces of tasty, fried fish – it's so good 🙂 I wish I had some of them right now as a snack 😀


  2. Hi Charles! Chermoula is a famous marinade here and usually made to coat fish or chicken (more spices needed for this one). It' simple and tasty. Regarding the fried fish, since my husband wants his fish and chips from time to time. I add baked wedges and serve it like so…


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