Schug is a Middle Eastern spicy cilantro condiment. Make this recipe for zhoug sauce to use on grilled meats or roasted vegetables.
For lovers of spicy food, green chiles are an essential pantry staple. They add immense flavor to Middle Eastern, North African, Asian, and Mediterranean condiments.
The regional differences in flavor are really noticeable, and it's a delicious adventure to taste them side by side.
Try it for yourself! Make a batch of this spicy, zesty cilantro chile paste. Then serve it on a tray with red or green shatta sauce, some Turkish pepper paste, and Moroccan harissa. Compare the flavors, then decide for yourself which one is the spiciest.
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
This spicy condiment is made with fresh cilantro and parsley, and the spicy heat comes from serrano chiles.
The consistency is thick enough to use as a dip, but you can also thin it out to use as a sauce.
The Middle Eastern hot sauce goes by several other names/spellings as well (see below). Most people know it by the name, zhoug sauce.
Zhoug, zhug, schug
Sh·oeg (sounds like the"oo" in book)
Food processor or blender
Difficulty: Easy 🥄
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Video: making zhoug sauce
Making the hot sauce is beyond quick and easy. Just a few pulses in a food processor and you'll have a batch ready to use immediately.
To see the recipe in action, watch the video located in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Notes and tips
- Add the garlic and spicy chiles first.
You'll want to crush them as finely as possible before adding the other ingredients. Otherwise, you could end up with large pieces of them in the schug.
On the note of spiciness, if you have difficulty tolerating spicy foods, feel free to use less serrano chiles. Alternatively, you can use a milder chile, such as Anaheim, poblano, or jalapeno.
On the other hand, if you like things really hot, feel free to add more to your liking!
- Pour the olive oil in slowly.
Rather than adding the oil at one time, allow it to stream in through the food chute of your food processor. This helps the oil to incorporate evenly into the mixture.
- Avoid over mixing.
Although schug looks similar to pesto and chimichurri, the spicy cilantro sauce is meant to have a chunkier consistency. This way, the fresh herbs won't become gummy or pasty.
Storing and serving schug
- Keep the sauce in a covered container in the refrigerator, and use it up within one week. After that, the fresh herbs will become very mushy, resulting in an unpleasant texture.
- If you won't be serving it right away, add a thin layer of olive oil over the surface of the zhoug. This helps prevent it from drying out.
This post, originally published on Silk Road Recipes Jan. 11, 2021, was last updated on Nov. 19, 2021.
Schug / Zhoug Sauce + Video
- 2 cloves garlic crushed
- 2 serrano chiles coarsely chopped (See Note 3)
- 1 ½ oz cilantro stems removed (about 1 bunch)
- ½ oz flat leaf parsley stems removed (about ⅓ bunch)
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
- ¼ teaspoon ground clove
- ¼ teaspoon sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoon water
- Place garlic and chiles in bowl of a food processor and pulse or process until finely chopped. Add remaining ingredients and pulse several times to create a coarse, thick paste. Keep it slightly chunky in texture, do not over mix.
- Add more or less chiles for preferred spiciness. Serve over grilled meats, spooned over fresh cut tomatoes, hummus or whatever you like for an added kick of flavor.
- Store in an airtight jar in refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.
- I add a thin layer of olive oil on top to keep fresh if not using right away.
- Makes about ⅔ cup total.
- Add more or less chiles for preferred heat. This is meant to be spicy!
*The information shown below is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.