Spice Up Your Life: Authentic Zhug (Yemenite Hot Sauce) Recipe

Authentic Yemenite Zhug Recipe - Hot Sauce with Cilantro and Parsley

Discover the vibrant flavors of the Middle East with this zesty Zhug recipe – a fresh, herbaceous hot sauce that’ll transform your meals!

Zhug, the fiery Yemenite condiment, is a culinary gem that’s taking the world by storm. This aromatic blend of cilantro, parsley, and spices is like a flavor explosion in your mouth! It’s the perfect companion for falafel, grilled meats, or even as a bold spread for your morning toast. Let’s dive into the world of Zhug and learn how to make this versatile sauce at home.

What sets Zhug apart is its incredible depth of flavor. The combination of fresh herbs, toasted spices, and fiery chiles creates a harmonious balance that’s both refreshing and intense. It’s similar to other global favorites like chimichurri, chermoula, and salsa verde, but with its own unique Yemenite twist.

The secret to achieving the most authentic and flavorful Zhug lies in the preparation method. While it might be tempting to toss everything into a food processor, trust us – using a mortar and pestle is the way to go. This traditional tool helps release the essential oils from the herbs and spices, resulting in a more aromatic and flavorful sauce.

Ready to embark on your Zhug-making adventure? Let’s get started with this easy-to-follow recipe that’ll have you feeling like a Middle Eastern chef in no time!

Zhug (Yemenite Hot Sauce With Cilantro and Parsley) Recipe


  • 1/4 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 green cardamom pods, small internal seeds only, toasted (optional)
  • 4 medium cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 4 to 6 fresh Thai bird chiles, red or green (to taste), roughly chopped; or 4 dried chiles de árbol, stemmed, seeded, and torn into fine pieces
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 2 ounces fresh parsley and cilantro leaves and fine stems (about 2 loosely packed cups of mixed herbs)
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) extra-virgin olive oil


  1. Start by toasting your spices to unlock their full potential. In a mortar, combine coriander seeds, cumin, black pepper, and cardamom seeds (if using). Grind them into a fragrant powder using firm, circular motions. Now, add the garlic, chiles, and salt, pounding them into a rough paste. This is where the magic happens! Gradually incorporate the cilantro and parsley, one small handful at a time, continuing to pound until you have a vibrant, chunky paste. Remember, texture is key – aim for no pieces larger than 1/8 inch. To finish, slowly drizzle in the olive oil while constantly pounding, creating a luscious emulsion that’ll make your taste buds dance. Taste and adjust the salt if needed. Your homemade Zhug is now ready to elevate any dish! Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator, where it’ll keep for several weeks – if you can resist eating it all at once!
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
130 Calories
14g Fat
2g Carbs
0g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 130
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 14g 18%
Saturated Fat 2g 10%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 162mg 7%
Total Carbohydrate 2g 1%
Dietary Fiber 1g 2%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 10mg 52%
Calcium 20mg 2%
Iron 1mg 4%
Potassium 66mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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