There’s absolutely nothing subtle going on here. Zhoug (aka; zhug, skhug, schug or s’hug) is a bold and bright Yemeni green hot sauce. It’s spicy, tangy and packed with flavor. Slather zhoug on kebabs, falafel, fresh pita, hummus and more!
The first time I tried zhoug (pronounced ZOOG) was at my favorite local Israeli-Middle Eastern restaurant MizLaLa. It came on the side of a chicken shawarma plate I ordered. One bite and I was… obsessed! Zhoug is intensely spicy but not in an overpowering, light your whole mouth on fire kind of way. It’s well balanced, fragrant and super-fresh.
Zhoug gets its robust flavor from spicy peppers, cilantro, parsley, garlic and spices. It’s traditionally made by hand-pounding the ingredients into a paste with two large stones, kind of like a mortar and pestle or molcajete. For this recipe we’ll use a food processor to blend all of the ingredients together into a coarse paste.
Looking for the perfect pairing? This zippy green condiment will liven up a wide variety of dishes! Serve zhoug with Yogurt Marinated Chicken with Harissa and Garlic, Za’atar Chicken and Hummus Bowls and Chicken Koftas with Yogurt and Herb Salad (Middle Eastern Meatballs)
Ingredients You’ll Need
Here’s everything you need to make this spicy condiment: cilantro, parsley, jalapeños, garlic, lemon, cumin, cardamom, chili flakes (optional) and olive oil.
*See recipe card for additional notes and ingredient substitutions.*
Recipe Step by Step:
Step 1. Prep and Chop
Roughly chop the parsley and cilantro. Remove the stems from the jalapeños and give the garlic cloves a smash then place all of the ingredients, except the olive oil, into the base of a food processor.
Step 2. Pulse
Pulse the ingredients together until they are coarsely chopped. Next, with the blade running begin to slowly steam in the olive oil. Stop and scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula then pulse 3-4 more times until the sauce is mostly smooth and resembles a pesto-like consistency.
Step 2. Serve or Store
Taste the sauce and season with more salt as needed. Serve right away or transfer to a jar with a tight-fitting lid and store in the refrigerator for up to three weeks.
Check Out More Delicious Sauces and Condiments:
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Zhoug (Spicy Green Hot Sauce)
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 jalapeños stems and seeds discarded
- 1 bunch cilantro roughly chopped
- ½ bunch parsley roughly chopped
- 2 large cloves garlic peeled and smashed
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp ground cardamom
- ¼ tsp crushed red chili flakes optional–see notes.
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- ½ cup olive oil
- Place all of the ingredients–except the olive oil, into the base of a food processor. Pulse until all of the ingredients are finely and uniformly chopped.
- Next, with the blade running begin to slowly steam in the olive oil. Stop and scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula then pulse 3-4 more times until the sauce is mostly smooth and resembles a pesto-like consistency. Taste and season with more salt if needed.
- Jalapeños/Crushed Red Chili Flakes: Jalapeños vary greatly in spice levels. I you happen to get mild jalapeños you can add chili flakes for additional heat. Star with ¼tsp and add more as needed. Serrano chilis can also be used in place of jalapeño.
- Spices: Cumin and cardamom are the two spices in this recipe. If you only have one or the other that is fine. In a pinch ground coriander can also be substituted for either cumin or cardamom.
- Leftover zhoug can be stored covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.