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If you love hot and fiery foods, then you need zhoug in your life!
You'll love creating this spicy sauce in your own home with this zhoug sauce recipe.
So let me tell you a little bit about zhoug, an amazing spicy green sauce with complex flavors not for the faint of heart!
What Is Zhoug?
Zhoug is a spicy cilantro sauce from Yemen and a very popular Middle Eastern condiment. It's used to spice up some of the great dishes in Middle Eastern cuisine such as shawarma and gyros.
In addition to cilantro, the zhoug contains chilis, olive oil, and spices which gives this delicious sauce a complex flavor.
The vibrant green color of this flavorful sauce is beautiful, and you could consider zhoug as a Middle Eastern pesto.
You may have seen Zhoug Sauce at Trader Joe's, which is where I first encountered it.
I loved trying TJ's version of zhoug and was excited to try my hand at making my own version.
The version I share here is quite a bit spicier than Trader Joe's, and uses different chilis to their delicious zhoug sauce.
Zhoug, also spelled zhug, is a MUST try food! However, if you are averse to cilantro and/or hot and spicy foods, this may not be up your alley. I am of the opinion it's definitely worth trying though!
So allow me to tell you what you'll need to make this easy zhoug recipe if you are willing to give it a go!
This spicy condiment is made up of simple ingredients that you should be able to find at most grocery stores.
Here's what you will need for this easy recipe:
- Fresh Cilantro
- Ground Cardamom
- Caraway seeds
- Ground Cumin
- Black pepper
- Fresh garlic cloves
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Thai chilis (can sub jalapeno peppers, serranos, or red pepper flakes)
The ground spices I am using are cardamom, cumin, black pepper and salt. If you only have these as whole spices (i.e. cardamom seeds or cumin seeds), please grind them before use. You can leave the caraway seeds whole.
Zhoug is meant to be spicy, so I've elected to use Thai chilis, which pack a lot of heat and will give you a spicier sauce! However, you can sub green chilis such as jalapeños, serranos, or even red pepper flakes. You could also adjust the number of Thai chilis up or down to suit you as well.
This recipe uses both fresh cilantro leaves, as well as the cilantro stems. If you prefer to only use the leaves, then you'll need to use more than 1 bunch of this delicious fresh herb in this recipe.
I am only using cilantro in this spicy zhoug recipe. However, you could use half cilantro and half flat-leaf parsley if you like. It's all good!
Combine all the ingredients in a food processor. You may want to add the chilis and garlic first, followed by the cilantro, seasonings, and then the olive oil.
Process the ingredients until everything is combined and the cilantro, garlic, and chilis are finely chopped.
If you have a small food processor, you may want to add the ingredients and only half the cilantro. Process that down, and then add the remaining cilantro.
Scrape the sides of the food processor down several times during the processing.
Taste and add additional salt and more olive oil until you get the perfect taste for you.
Suggestions For Serving
You'll be delighted to know that you can enjoy this versatile condiment in so many ways!
Zhoug is perfect for dipping pita bread into, and try it in falafel sandwiches. It's also amazing stirred into rice, and great with your favorite grilled meats.
I do hope you will give this amazing spicy sauce a try!
Store zhoug in an airtight container in your fridge, and consume within 4-5 days.
Zhoug sauce is the perfect dip for pita bread! Add it to sandwiches and soups, serve with grilled meats, or even stir it into rice!
Zhoug originates from Yemen, and is a popular relish in the Middle East. It is especially popular in Israel.
1,000 Foods To Eat Project
In conclusion, Zhoug is listed in the book 1,000 Foods To Eat Before You Die, by Mimi Sheraton. I am working my way through the foods listed in this book. This is called my 1,000 Foods to Eat Project. Zhoug is food #69 in my project! Please visit the 1,000 Foods To Eat Project page to see some other MUST TRY foods of the world that you may love to try!
Some Other Recipes You May Enjoy!
Here are some other recipes you may enjoy:
- Middle Eastern Chicken With Lemon and Olives
- Middle Eastern Style Cabbage Salad
- Lahmajoun - Middle Eastern Pizza
Join Me On A Fun Food Journey!
I invite you to come along on this food journey with me! Please sign up to get the latest recipes and inspiration for you to expand your food comfort zone! It's an incredible journey, please join me by signing up here.
Easy Zhoug Sauce Recipe
- 1 bunch cilantro can use stems and leaves in this recipe. If you prefer only using the leaves, then please buy 2-3 bunches
- ¼ ts cumin ground
- ¼ ts cardamom ground
- ¼ ts caraway seeds
- ¼ ts black pepper
- ¼ ts salt
- 6 cloves garlic use fresh garlic
- 4 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 4 each Thai chilis you can sub jalapeno peppers if you prefer
- Combine all the ingredients in your food processor. You may want to add the chilis and garlic first, followed by the cilantro, seasonings, and then the olive oil.
- Process the ingredients until everything is combined and the cilantro, garlic, and chilis are finely chopped. If you have a small food processor, you may want to add the ingredients and only half the cilantro. Process that down, and then add the remaining cilantro. Scrape the sides of the food processor down several times during the processing.
- Taste and add additional salt and more olive oil if you like.