Homemade Zhoug
Homemade Zhoug

Make a batch of this flavorful herb spice and store in the fridge to drizzle on EVERYTHING for up to a week!

Zhoug, also known as schug, zhug, or zoug, is a chunky hot sauce that originated in Yemen. Green chilies, garlic, cilantro, and parsley make them flavorful, bold, and fragrant. Warming spices like cumin, coriander and cardamom give it complex flavors.

It’s a versatile condiment that can be used in so many ways – for dipping, drizzling, sauces, marinating and more!

I’m using jalapeños for this recipe, but you can use any flavorful green chilli like bird’s eye chili. They are very fiery so I would recommend only using 1 or 2.

Zhoug is traditionally made by toasting spices, roasting the garlic and then combining it with coarsely chopped herbs and chilies. The resulting zhong is smoky and has a mild but rich flavor of roasted garlic. This takes some time to make.

The most common and by far the easiest way to make zhong is the one in this recipe – in a food processor! It takes less time and requires less washing up. Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until coarse and still a bit chunky. The key is not to overprocess the herbs as they will become uncomfortably bitter. This zhong is even more delicious because it’s so easy to make!

If you don’t have a food processor, use a sharp knife to finely chop the herbs, chilies, and garlic. Then stir in the ground spices, lemon juice, and olive oil.

Zhoug is commonly drizzled over wraps and sandwiches like falafel and sabich, an Israeli sandwich — pita stuffed with fried eggplant, hard-boiled eggs, and chopped lettuce. There are so many ways to enjoy Zhou in everyday cooking. Here are some I love:

  • A marinade for chicken, lamb, fish or shellfish
  • Drizzle over hummus or labneh
  • A flavorful sauce for grilled meat or roasted vegetables
  • An alternative to pesto stirred with pasta
  • Tossed in soups
  • Liven up any slaw by tossing in a spoonful or two
  • Drizzle over fried, poached or scrambled eggs

Plan ahead: Zhoug needs to rest

Ideally, prepare Zhou at least 1 hour before serving to allow the herbs, spices and garlic to fuse and settle into a tastier sauce. The punch of garlic and chilies will also soften a little.

How to store Zhoug

Zhoug can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Be sure to store it in an airtight container or a clean jar with a lid. Bring to room temperature before serving – the olive oil will harden when cold.

Team Green (Condiments and Sauces)

  • Green Tahini Sauce
  • Spring Onion Pesto
  • Chermoula
  • Mint pesto
  • Chimichurri

Homemade zhoug

preparation time
10 mins

rest time
60 minutes

total time
70 minutes

If you can’t find ground cardamom seeds, use the seeds from 5 cardamom pods.


  • 4 jalapenos

  • 3 cloves of garlic

  • Just 1 cup tightly packed fresh cilantro, leaves and tender stems

  • Just 3/4 cup tightly packed fresh parsley, leaves and tender stems

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom seeds

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

  • 1/2 cup olive oil, plus more to drizzle on top

  • Juice of 1 lemon (about 2 tablespoons)

  • 1 teaspoon of sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 3 tbsp water, as needed

special equipment

  • food processor


  1. Prepare jalapeños and garlic:

    Cut the stems off the jalapeños. Take a small taste of one and when it’s spicy, remove some or all of the seeds if you like. Zhoug is meant to be spicy, but you can adjust the spice level to your liking. Roughly chop and add to the food processor along with the garlic. Pulse a few times until coarsely chopped.

  2. Add herbs and spices:

    Add the coriander, parsley, ground cumin, ground cardamom seeds, and ground coriander and blend until the herbs are coarsely chopped. After a few pulses, stop and scrape off any large bits of herb stuck to the side of the bowl, then pulse again.

  3. Add olive oil and lemon juice:

    Add olive oil, lemon juice, sugar and salt and pulse until mixture is evenly combined. It won’t be smooth. It will be chunky and coarse with visible bits of herb and garlic.

  4. Add the water if necessary:

    If your zhong seems too stiff, pulse in water, 1 tablespoon at a time and up to 3 tablespoons to loosen it up.

  5. Taste and season:

    Taste the sauce and add more salt, sugar or lemon juice if needed. It should be flavorful, lemony, light and fresh.

  6. Rest the Zhou:

    Transfer the zhou to a bowl or container with a lid. Drizzle a little olive oil on top to lightly coat, about 1 tablespoon. Cover tightly with plastic wrap or a lid. Let sit on your kitchen counter for at least 1 hour to allow the flavors to blend. Anything that takes longer than an hour, put it in the fridge.

    Zhoug can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

    Did you like the recipe? Leave us a rating in the comments!

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Hello everybody, Even if you're limited on time and money, I believe you can prepare wonderful food with everyday products. All you have to do is cook cleverly and creatively!