This green hot sauce is a popular Yemeni condiment known as zhug, or zhoug sauce. Make this recipe for a fantastic topping with grilled meats or roasted vegetables.
For lovers of spicy food, green chili peppers are an essential pantry staple. Pairing them with fresh herbs and zesty spices makes for sensational and vibrant condiments!
Zhug, also known as skhug, and zhoug sauce, is the perfect example of such a condiment. Pronounced “zoog", it features fiery heat from serrano chilies and bright flavors of fresh cilantro, flat leaf parsley, and Middle Eastern spices.
The end result is a snappy bite of memorable heat!
To experience another regional flavorful condiment, you should make Lebanese Garlic Sauce known as Toum. The creamy garlic-based spread is fantastic on soft warm slices of whole wheat pita bread!
How to Make Zhoug Sauce
Making this recipe is beyond quick and easy. Just a few pulses in a food processor and you'll have a batch ready to use immediately.
A few tips:
- Add the garlic and peppers first. You'll want to crush them as fine as possible before adding the other ingredients. Otherwise, you could end up with large pieces of them in the sauce.
- 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 zhug looks similar to pesto and chimichurri, this green hot sauce is meant to have a chunkier texture. This way, the fresh herbs won't become gummy or pasty.
Serving suggestions and uses
One of the best ways to experience the full flavor of the condiment is to serve it over grilled meats or poultry. It tastes fantastic with grilled lamb, as well as on slices of fresh tomato.
Or, you can also use it as a spread on flatbread, or as a dip for roasted vegetables. Its bright, flavorful, and very spicy!
On the note of spiciness, if you have difficulty tolerating spicy food, feel free to use less serrano. Alternatively, you can use a milder chile, such as poblano or even jalapeno.
On the other hand, if you like things really hot, feel free to add more to your liking!
Green Hot Sauce Recipe Notes
- Keep the green hot 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 are not serving it right away, add a thin layer of olive oil on the surface of the sauce. This helps prevent it from drying out.
Yemeni Green Hot Sauce - Zhug
- 2 garlic cloves crushed
- 2 serrano chiles coarsely chopped (See Note 3)
- 1 ½ oz cilantro stems removed (about 1 bunch)
- ½ oz parsley stems removed (about ⅓ bunch)
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- ¼ tsp ground cardamom
- ¼ tsp ground clove
- ¼ tsp sugar
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp water
- Place the garlic and chiles in a food processor and chop fine. Add the remaining ingredients and pulse several times to get a coarse, thick paste. Keep it slightly chunky in texture, do not over mix.
- Add more or less chiles for heat preferred. 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.