Zhug – a Yemeni Cilantro Sauce

by Sala @ Veggie Belly on August 18, 2014

Zhug a Yemenite cilantro hot sauce Zhug, also called Skhug, or Zhoug is a spicy hot sauce used in Yemeni cuisine. Yemenite Jews bought zhug to Israel, and it is popular in the country. I had zhug for the first time when I visited Israel and loved everything about it – the color, the simplicity and the freshness. There are two kinds of zhug – red and green. Red zhug is made with red chiles and green zhug is made with green chiles. This recipe is for green zhug.

I use 4 Thai green chiles in this recipe. It makes for a spicy zhug. If you want it milder, use less chiles. Alternatively, slit the chile open and scrape out and discard the seeds, this will get rid of most the heat. Then use the chile in this recipe.  Green chilis lemon and cilantro for zhug
Some zhugs use half cilantro and half parsley. But I like the all cilantro version. I am greedy about cilantro and always buy more than I need. So this is the perfect use of excess cilantro for me!

Zhug is very easy to make. All you have to do is simply blend all the ingredients together! It will keep in the fridge, in a airtight container for about a week. Traditionally zhug is made in a mortar and pestle. I use a food processor and grind the zhug to a coarse paste.

How to use Zhug:
Think of zhug as a pesto or chutney. Here are some delicious ways to use this incredibly versatile condiment.
- Stir it into soups
- Spoon it over eggs
- Serve as a dip with vegetables, and pita bread
- Mix it into cooked rice or quinoa
- Use as a sandwich spread; its great mixed with some hummus and slathered on a sandwich!
Zhug with cilantro

Zhug Recipe

makes about 2 cups

2 bunches cilantro (leaves and stems), chopped. (About 3 cups when chopped)
4 Thai green chiles, or according to taste*
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

*This will make a spicy zhug. Change the quantity of green chiles according to your taste.

1. Place all ingredients, along with 2 tablespoons of water in a food processor. Blend into a coarse paste. Store the zhug in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.


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