Zhoug (Yemeni Green Herb Hot Sauce)


I always love trying new foods. When I first moved to Budapest five years ago, I was surprised by the presence of many Middle Eastern restaurants. I hadn't really been acquainted with the cuisine before, so I took it upon myself to try many amazing dishes. That's when I first discovered zhoug, a hot sauce from Yemen. It's often served alongside main dishes as a condiment for anyone who would like to spice up their food. It comes in green and red versions, but I love the green the most. Maybe because it reminds me of Mexican salsa verde. Or maybe because cilantro is involved.

zhoug ingredients

Although traditionally zhoug is made with just cilantro, it's oftentimes halved with parsley. And that's exactly how I've developed this recipe. It's half cilantro and half parsley. So it may be more pleasing for those cilantro avoidant eaters. Trust me, this sauce is so good, it's good on nearly everything. I love it on grilled or roast chicken, fish, and even steak. In that way it's quite like the Argentinian chimichurri.


Note: For the best sauce-like consistency, I highly recommend using a food processor. The result is a very creamy sauce. You could also make this in a mortar and pestle, or just chop up everything with a very sharp knife.

3 garlic cloves
1 large hot Hungarian wax pepper
1 bunch cilantro (coriander)
1 bunch parsley
fine sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 lemon
1/3 cup olive oil

Cut up the garlic and pepper into chunks. If you'd like your zhoug to be more mellow than hot, remove the seed pod from the pepper.

Add the garlic, pepper, and herbs to the bowl of a food processor. Season generously with salt and pepper. Add the cumin and coriander.

Zest and juice the lemon over the bowl of the food processor.

Click on the lid and pulse the food processor until the ingredients are coarsely chopped. Then run the food processor until everything is finely chopped and combined.

While the food processor is running, drizzle in the olive oil until the mixture is smooth and nearly creamy. Yield: about 1 cup zhoug. Serve immediately or refrigerate. Use within 1 week.


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