When I first learned of Zhoug sauce and tried a few versions, I became obsessed with the stuff, finding excuses to use it in marinades and dressings, and literally pouring it on everything I eat, even my morning eggs!
I am a huge fan of homemade sauces. They are immensely more flavorful than anything store-bought, and they add complexity to a dish. This one, in particular, is highly approachable and easy for all cooking levels. After you try our Zhoug sauce, you will quite probably be whipping up sauces on the regular, in your kitchen, just like us.
What is Zhoug Sauce?
Zhoug sauce is a spicy cilantro sauce, traditionally prepared using a large (“marha”) and small stone (“wdi”) to crush the ingredients into a paste. It is an incredibly versatile condiment from Middle Eastern cuisine, and it goes by many names. In Iraq, it is known as zhoug or skhug, in Yemen hilbeh, and in Israel s’khug. It originates from Yemen but is spread to other Middle Eastern countries.
In the middle of the 20th century, the sauce migrated to Israel by Yemenite Jewish immigrants. Today, it is immensely popular and dominates street corners in Israel alongside some of the best street food selections. From there, it spread to other parts of the Middle East. It is often composed of hot peppers, garlic, cilantro, cumin, salt, and other spices.
How to Eat It
- Pour it over roasted vegetables or grilled meats
- Stir it into yogurt or hummus and serve alongside bread varieties
- Serve it with falafel
- Spread it on a sandwich
Recipes that Pair well with Zhoug Sauce
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator and consume for up to two weeks. Bring the sauce to room temperature before re-serving.
1. Sauté Garlic until Fragrant
- Mince or grind garlic in a food processor.
- Place a sauté pan on the stovetop at medium-low heat. Add olive oil and allow it to heat.
- Add garlic and sauté for 2-3 minutes or until soft and fragrant.
2. Grind Ingredients in Food Processor
- Combine parsley, cilantro, cooked garlic, coriander seeds, red wine vinegar, and lemon juice in a food processor. Grind ingredients together. Alternatively, you may finely chop herbs and use a mortar and pestle to grind the ingredients into a paste.
- Pour into a mixing bowl.
3. Season the Sauce
- Add olive oil, cumin, Aleppo pepper, red chili powder, salt, and ground pepper.
- Stir well and enjoy.