This authentic Zhoug recipe is full of spicy, punchy flavor! A popular Middle Eastern condiment, zhoug sauce is made with fresh cilantro, jalapenos, garlic, cardamom and cumin. Includes a video.

This authentic Zhoug recipe is full of spicy, punchy flavor! A popular Middle Eastern condiment, zhoug sauce is made with fresh cilantro, jalapenos, garlic, cardamom and cumin. Includes a video.

Meet Zhoug! One of the tastiest Middle Eastern sauces, made with cilantro, chilies, garlic and spices. Pronounced zoog, zhoug (also goes by zoug, zough, zhug, skug, or schug) originates from Yemen, but has become wildly popular in Israeli and Middle Eastern cuisine. Think of zhoug as a Middle Eastern version of our chimichurri recipe . By now, you’ve probably seen it at Trader Joe’s in the refrigerated section- it’s that popular!

The surprising ingredient that gives Zhoug its unique flavor is quite unexpected -cardamom! Tradionally versions also include whole caraway seeds– for the BEST flavor.

Why You’ll Love zhoug!

  1. Dress up simple dishes! Zhoug or zhoug paste, is a versatile green sauce that can be added to all sorts of simple dishes to add a burst of flavor, along with a pop of color. Add it to wraps, pitas, falafel sandwiches, roasted veggies, or hummus. See our list below for even more ideas!
  2. 5-minute recipe. This green zhoug only takes 5 minutes to whip up using the food processor! A quick and easy Middle Eastern sauce, yet so beautiful and impressive.
  3. Packed with complex flavor. Cardamon is the secret ingredient here! Jalapeños make this a mildly spicy sauce, garlic and lemon add bright flavor, and cilantro is the main herby component. Ground cumin gives earthy depth of flavor.
Zhoug Sauce Recipe - a flavorful Middle Eastern Cilantro Sauce that gives meals a huge burst of flavor. Simple easy recipe that can be made in 5 minutes flat! | #zhoug #zhougrecipe #howtomakezhoug www.feastingathome.com

Zhoug Ingredients

  • Jalapenos: Provide a spicy kick. Add heat and depth of flavor to the sauce. Feel free to use Serrano for an even spicier sauce!
  • Garlic: Adds a pungent and savory taste. Enhances the overall flavor profile of the sauce.
  • Cilantro leaves: Provides a fresh and vibrant taste. It adds a bright and aromatic element to the sauce.
  • Cardamon: Ground cardamon or whole seeds contribute a unique and unexpected flavor. It adds a subtle floral and earthy note to the sauce.
  • Cumin: Whether ground cumin or in whole seeds, it adds a warm earthy flavor.
  • Caraway seeds: Optional but recommended as they add complexity, nuttiness and a unique flavor.
  • Black Peppercorns: Optional, but can be added for a touch of heat and mild spiciness.
  • Kosher salt: Essential for balancing the flavors, enhancing the ingredients, and bringing everything together.
  • Olive oil: Used to achieve the desired consistency of the sauce. It adds richness and smoothness.
  • Lemon juice: Provides a tangy and citrusy flavor. It adds brightness and freshness to the sauce.
  • Chili flakes: can be added for an extra layer of spiciness and a subtle smoky flavor. They are optional but can be adjusted to individual preferences. Aleppo chili flakes are nice here.
Zhoug Sauce Recipe - a flavorful Middle Eastern Cilantro Sauce that gives meals a huge burst of flavor. Simple easy recipe that can be made in 5 minutes flat! | #zhoug #zhougrecipe #howtomakezhoug www.feastingathome.com

How to Make Zhoug (instructions)

  1. Toast the seeds (if using) Toast any whole seeds in a dry skillet over med-low heat until fragrant. If using cardamom pods- crush the pods and remove the seeds- just toast the seeds. Let cool slightly.
  2. Pulse in the food processor. Place the toasted spices and all the remaining ingredients- fresh chilies, cilantro, garlic (everything except the oil) in a food processor and pulse until it’s uniformly chopped. No need for a mortar and pestle here! Add extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice and pulse into a coarse paste. For a looser version, add a bit more oil.
  3. Taste and adjust. Taste for salt and heat, adding more if necessary.
  4. Add chili flakes. Add red pepper flakes or Aleppo chili flakes if you like.

Storage

Zhoug must be refrigerated. Store in a sealed jar in the fridge for up to one week. Freeze zhoug for up to 6 month. See the list of ways to use Zhoug Sauce below for ideas of how to use up this spicy cilantro sauce throughout the week!

Try Zhoug Yogurt!

If zhug is too spicy, try stirring a little Zhoug into plain yogurt for a flavorful, yet mellower, yogurt sauce.

Zhoug Sauce Recipe - a flavorful Middle Eastern Cilantro Sauce that gives meals a huge burst of flavor. Simple easy recipe that can be made in 5 minutes flat! | #zhoug #zhougrecipe #howtomakezhoug www.feastingathome.com

Zhoug Yogurt (above) is a great way to temper the flavor a bit. I love this with falafels, this Grilled Chicken or Grilled eggplant!

Ways to Use Zhoug Sauce

  1. Spoon zhoug over beans, tacos,  wraps , shawarma pitas or grilled eggplant wraps.
  2. Serve zhoug with falafel!
  3. Drizzle zhoug over roasted veggies, chickpeas, tofu, eggs, grilled chicken, and fish.
  4. Swirl it into soups for a bright burst of flavor.
  5. Swirl it into hummus, or labneh for a delicious dip.
  6. Drizzle it over Avocado toast.
  7. Use zhoug (or zhoug yogurt) it as a flavorful marinade for meat, fish or chicken.

Zhoug FAQs

What is zhoug made of?

Zhoug is traditionally made with cilantro, garlic, chili peppers, spices, and olive oil. Typically bird’s eye or serrano peppers are used, but we use jalapeño because it is milder and easier to find!

What do you eat with zhoug?

Spoon over a falafel pita, roasted vegetables, drizzle over wraps, stir into yogurt, spoon over eggs, spoon onto fish or grilled chicken shawarma, or mix into hummus. You can even mix it with additional extra-virgin olive oil and lemon juice for a punchy salad dressing. For even more ideas, see our full list below!

What is the meaning of zhoug?

Zhoug means a spicy sauce containing chilies. Yemenites believe that daily consumption of zhoug can keep illness at bay and strengthen the heart.

Can you freeze Zhoug?

Yes, zhoug can be frozen in an airtight container for up to 6 months. Drizzle the top of zhoug with lemon juice or olive oil to prevent it from discoloring.

What are other names for Zhoug?

Zhoug can also go by zoug, zough, zhoung, zhug, zoog, skug, skhug, zhoug paste, green paste, or schug!

You’ll find a hundred uses for Zhug Sauce. I promise! Similar to both Chermoula and Green Harissa Sauce, it’s signature difference is the addition of cardamom and caraway seeds. It’s quite addicting, and it tastes like nothing else. Make it spicy or keep it mild, totally up to you. Hope you give Zhoug a try!

Zhoug Sauce Recipe - a flavorful Middle Eastern Cilantro Sauce that gives meals a huge burst of flavor. Simple easy recipe that can be made in 5 minutes flat! | #zhoug #zhougrecipe #howtomakezhoug www.feastingathome.com

More Favorite Sauces You’ll Love!

Enjoy this and let us know your thoughts in the comments below! xo

Sylvia

Watch How to make Zhoug | 30-sec video

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This authentic Zhoug recipe is full of spicy, punchy flavor! A popular Middle Eastern condiment, zhoug sauce is made with fresh cilantro, jalapenos, garlic, cardamom and cumin. Includes a video.

Zhoug Recipe (Zhug)

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 47 reviews
  • Author: Sylvia Fountaine
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 1 ¼ cup 1x
  • Category: Condiment
  • Method: Blend
  • Cuisine: Yemen
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

This authentic Zhoug recipe is full of spicy, punchy flavor! A popular Middle Eastern condiment, zhoug sauce is made with fresh cilantro, jalapenos, garlic, cardamom and cumin. Includes a video.


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 13 whole jalapenos, sliced ( start with one, if unsure)
  • 2 fat garlic cloves
  • 1 bunch cilantro, small stems ok (about 1 cup packed tightly)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamon (or whole seeds, please see notes)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin- ground or whole seeds
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seedsoptional but good!
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppercorns – optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste
  • 1/3 cup olive oil, more to desired consistency
  • 2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes (Aleppo chili is nice), more to taste (optional)

Instructions

  1. Toast any whole seeds in a dry skillet over med-low heat until fragrant. Note: If using cardamom pods– crush the pods and remove the seeds- just toast the seeds. (Video is not accurate here.) Let cool slightly.
  2. Place the toasted spices and all the remaining ingredients (except the oil) in a food processor and pulse until it’s uniformly chopped. Add oil and lemon juice and pulse into a coarse paste. For a looser version, add a bit more oil.
  3. Taste for salt and heat, adding more if necessary.
  4. Add chili flakes if you like.
  5. Store in a sealed jar in the fridge for up to one week.

Notes

Toasted whole spices have the best flavor here! Remove cardamom seeds from the pods- leave the pods out. The video is not right. 😉 TIP: The cardamom is the star here, so make sure you use enough so you can taste it.

Chilies: Jalapeños are not traditional yet produce a very consistent and milder heat. You can swap them out for hotter serrano or other green chilies.

Herbs: Feel free to swap out the cilantro for flat-leaf parsley or even part fresh mint. You can also do a blend of all three!

Make Zhoug Yogurt: mix 1-2 tablespoons of Zhoug with a cup of yogurt, add more to taste. Taste, adjust salt.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 tablespoon
  • Calories: 26
  • Sugar: 0.2 g
  • Sodium: 29.6 mg
  • Fat: 2.8 g
  • Saturated Fat: 0.4 g
  • Carbohydrates: 0.3 g
  • Fiber: 0.1 g
  • Protein: 0.1 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

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Comments

  1. Swapped jalapenos for one serrano pepper, and included a tiny bit of mint. Added a teaspoon or two of sugar to balance out the flavours.






  2. This Zhoug sauce is to DIE for. We were first introduced to Zhoug sauce at Trader Joe’s – fell in love with it at first bite. We live in Mexico, however, and wanted to b able to make our own. I have to tell you, the cardamom is what makes this sauce what it is. I tried another blog’s recipe, which had lots of reviews., before I came across your recipe. The other recipe was decent, but it lacked cardamom as an ingredient. Your recipe is FAR BETTER. It’s is absolutely wonderful an authentic. We put it on baked sweet potatoes and tortillas, and crackers, etc. We are really loving your recipes. Thanks for sharing!!






    1. I’d start with one for the first go around. Some people like their zhoug really spicy- and I like mine med-spicy -using 2 jalapenos.

  3. I wish there were more stars to rate this recipe! It is unbelievably good, both on its own and in its yogurt guise. I am tempted to eat it with a spoon all by itself! It is really, really, really good. This will be a fixture in my recipe repertoire from now on. Thank you!






  4. Love this recipe. I ran short on cilantro so I threw in some nettles from my neighbors yard – turned out great! I love the juxtaposition of the cardamom and jalapeños.






  5. Sylvia, I LOVE the bowl that’s in the shot with the yogurt. Can you tell me where you found it? Can’t wait to try this recipe!

  6. Sylvie, this sauce is a bomb! Love how it sets my mouth on fire and reminds me of a suce a friend of mine made years ago in Kerala. Forgot the name! Thanks again 😉






  7. I like this recipe. Only a few minutes to make it and I can see how versatile it could be just by using different peppers. I made pork and shrimp dumplings and used it as one of my dipping sauces. Jalapenos give it a little heat without overwhelming the taste buds. I still have some leftover so I think I will try it with some baked cod this weekend.






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