Zhoug, a vibrant green cilantro-based sauce from Yemen, is both fresh and fiery. It’s layered with flavor, from earthy cumin, to aromatic coriander, to bright orange zest. Put a dollop on eggs, spread a bit on a sandwich, or use it as a dip, and enjoy the zingy and aromatic flavors of the Middle East!
- 1 bunch cilantro (about 2 1/2 ounces), roughly chopped
- 1/2 bunch parsley (about 1 1/4 ounces), roughly chopped
- 2 or 3 hot peppers, such as serrano or jalapeño, roughly chopped – use more or less as your heat tolerance dictates
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
- Zest of half an orange
- Pinch salt
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons white vinegar
- Splash of water, if needed
- Place everything except the water in a food processor or blender. Pulse several times until everything is well combined with a texture similar to pesto – a slightly chunky paste. Alternately, make your zhoug by chopping everything very finely with a knife, or by bashing everything together in a mortar and pestle.
- Add a splash of water if you want to thin the texture a bit.
- Give it a taste, and add additional salt if desired.
- Zhoug will keep well in the refrigerator for several days.
For the best flavor, use fresh, whole spices, and grind them just before use. You can grind fresh spices in a coffee grinder or with a mortar and pestle. I personally rarely buy pre-ground spices, as the flavor is soooo much better when you grind them to order. Give it a try – you’ll be amazed at how much more flavor you can get from your spices!
Bringing the zhoug together is easiest in a food processor or blender, but can certainly be done by hand. A sharp knife and a little patience will yield a chunky sauce, as will a heavy-duty mortar and pestle. If you use a food processor or blender, try to use a light hand. You want a thick, slightly chunky paste, like pesto, rather than a perfectly smooth and runny sauce.
- Category: Sauce
- Cuisine: Yemen