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How to Make Zhug [Yemeni Hot Sauce Recipe]

January 11, 2021

Kick up your spice game with this traditional Zhug Recipe, a Yemeni-inspired hot sauce recipe. All you need is some oil, peppers, herbs and spices and you have flavorful additional to all sorts of meals!

It’s taken me over a year to post this recipe! I wish I had a good excuse but to be honest life just happened and I kind of put it on the back burner. But it was inspired by a meal C and I had in Portland in the fall of 2019. We tried out an amazing restaurant there called Shalom Y’all (highly recommend!) and I fell in love with their zhug recipe – although they spell is “s’hug”. I pretty much mixed it with everything from roasted cauliflower to grilled Octopus. It was to-die-for!

I asked the server before we left if he had the recipe. He said it didn’t but he believed it was a blend of grapeseed oil, peppers, parsley and spices. And so I did a little research, played around with amounts and landed on this zhug sauce which I’m in love with. C and I have been putting it on just about everything (more suggestions below!) and I knew it was time to share the recipe with you. Better late than never!

What is Zhug?

Zhug is a traditional Yemeni hot sauce that is typically a blend of oil, hot peppers and spices. It comes in two varities: green and red. It has been adapted across the Middle East so you can find a version of this zhug recipe in many middle eastern cultures. A more traditional version would use whole spices that you grind with a mortal and pestle but for those of you who are short on time and/or don’t have whole spices, this zhug recipe calls for ground spices. Note: sometimes zhug is also spelled “shug”, “skhug” or “zhoug”.

Here’s what you need:

  • Grapeseed oil – a traditional middle eastern oil that also has a more neutral taste. If you can’t find grapeseed oil you can replace it with olive oil
  • Serrano peppers – for heat! If you like things slightly less spicy you can remove the seeds
  • Parsley – just cut off the thick stems at the bottom but no need to chop the leaf. Go big! Use the whole bunch.
  • Garlic – wouldn’t be zhug without garlic
  • Spices – cumin, coriander, turmeric and of course, salt!

How To Make Zhug [Recipe Instructions]

This zhug recipe is so simple to make. You pretty much just need to gather your ingredients, add to a blender and then store in a container. The key is to use quality ingredients.

STEP 1: Gather all your ingredients and add them to a blender.

STEP 2: Blend until smooth and then store in a glass or sealable jar in the fridge.

How to Store Zhug Sauce

Your zhug sauce recipe will save in the fridge for up to 1 month. Just make sure you store it in a sealed container. The zhug sauce will thicken in the fridge. I personally don’t mind the thickness but if you prefer a thinner hot sauce you can thin it out with a little water before use.

Red Zhug vs. Green Zhug

Typically zhug can be either green or red. I personally prefer green zhug (who doesn’t love a good dose of parsley?!) but red zhug is just as delicious and easy to make.

To make red zhug:

-replace your serrano peppers with hot red peppers (cayenne pepper would be a good substitute)

-omit the parsley

Otherwise all other ingredients will remain the same and store in the fridge for up to 1 month.

Perfect Pairings!

So now that we know how to make zhug sauce, what do you pair it with? Honestly, I pair it with everything. Use it as liberally as you would use hot sauce. Here are some suggestions:

-Add a dollop to your shakshuka – even better, green shakshuka!

-Thin out with a bit of water and coat some roasted cauliflower or other roasted veggies

-Mix in with your avocado toast for a little kick

-As a dip for pita bread (here’s how to make homemade pita!) or veggies.

-The perfect dipping sauce for your meat – rotisserie chicken anyone?!

No matter how you eat it, just promise me you’ll savor it and enjoy it!

Print

Zhug Sauce

Kick up your spice game with this traditional Zhug Recipe, a Yemeni-inspired hot sauce recipe. All you need is some oil, peppers, herbs and spices and you have flavorful additional to all sorts of meals!

  • Author: Davida Lederle
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 10-12 servings 1x
  • Category: Sauce
  • Method: Blend
  • Cuisine: Middle Eastern
  • Diet: Vegan

Ingredients

Scale
  • 1/2 cup grapeseed oil
  • 2 serrano peppers, tops removed
  • 1 bunch of parsley, thick stems removed
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Store in a sealed jar in the fridge for up to one month.

Keywords: zhug recipe, how to make zhug, shug, shug recipe, zhug sauce

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