Also known as zhug, mabboj, sahawiq, or bisbas, zhoug is a fresh, green hot sauce originally  from Yemen. Zhoug adds vegetal heat and complex flavor to any dish you add it to. Read on to learn how to make your own zhoug at home and the dishes that it best complements.

How is it Made?

Recipes for zhoug vary based on geographical location, but nearly all recipes call for a mix of red or green peppers, cilantro, garlic, olive oil, and salt. Additional spices such as cumin, pepper, caraway, cardamom, and coriander may also be added. The ingredients are crushed in a mortar and pestle until combined. Many home cooks also utilize food processors to quickly blitz the ingredients into a paste. 

What does Zhoug Taste Like?

Image Credit: By Sacrepan – Own work (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Zhoug is spicy, fresh, and bright tasting. The combination of raw garlic, cilantro, and hot chili peppers is bracingly hot, making it the perfect complement to rich and creamy dishes such as sabich, falafel, or shakshuka. Additional spices such as cumin, caraway, cardamom, and coriander lend the zhoug a more nuanced, earthy flavor. Olive oil serves not only as the liquid medium for the zhoug, but also as another layer of peppery, fresh flavor.  

Our Simple Zhoug Recipe

Our zhoug recipe is quick and delicious, perfect for topping grilled vegetables and meats, or as a sandwich filling. In the bowl of a food processor, combine 1 large bunch cilantro, 2 peeled garlic cloves, 4 stemmed Thai chiles, and ¼ tsp salt. Pulse 10 times until well chopped. With the motor running, add ½ cup olive oil in a steady stream until emulsified. Season to taste with salt. To add a twist to the original, add ½ tsp cumin, coriander, cardamom, or caraway if desired. 

Feature Image: Flickr user stone-soup (CC BY 2.0)

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