Zhoug, Zhug, Skhug - Spicy Herb Sauce

Zhoug, Zhug, Skhug – Spicy Herb Sauce

I made my Zhoug, Zhug, Skhug – Spicy Herb Sauce for the first time last week, and made it again the next day! Because of all the condiments that I served with my Home Style Chicken Shawarma, the Zhoug, Zhug, Skhug – Spicy Herb Sauce was my favorite. I don’t normally post multiple times in one day, but I don’t want you to have to wait days for the sauces that go with that Chicken Shawarma!

Zhoug, Zhug, Skhug - Spicy Herb Sauce

Zhoug, Zhug, Skhug – Spicy Herb Sauce


I do love a bit of spice, and I love when that spiciness can be added in the form of a sauce so that those that aren’t into the heat can have their meal how they like, and I can have mine how I want it. Zhoug is perfect for that. Never heard of Zhoug? Read on, my friend. This might just transform your life. Ok, maybe not your whole life, but at least a meal or two!

About Zhoug, Zhug, Skhug – Spicy Herb Sauce:

I do have an affinity for green, herby sauces. Honestly, there was a time when my kids were young and I was really pinching pennies to get by as a single Mom, and I used to discount a lot of the “extras” in recipes. I was “basic” as they say. I think that was a mistake; a few pennies worth of ingredients can not only “make” a meal, but can add in so many extra benefits in the health department. Now I hardly ever skip the chance to add something fresh.

And while I love my Chimichurri & love my Chermoula Sauce, and even this greenish Scallion Ginger Sauce (you might want to check out my Condiments Menu) this vibrant, Zhoug, Zhug, Skhug – Spicy Herb Sauce is a condiment I’ll make over and over! Whoever said (Kermit, I’m looking at you!) being green wasn’t easy, was wrong. Why the three spellings of Zhoug? Different areas of the Middle East all use this sauce but it’s spelled in different ways. The sauce, though, is very similar in most, a classic.

I can see making my Zhoug, Zhug, Skhug – Spicy Herb Sauce every single time I make a recipe from anywhere in the Middle East (I added some of it to my Lemon Garlic Tahini Sauce and loved the extra bit of zip) but I can also see Zhoug served over steaks just like Chimichurri, tucked into a burger, tossed into some scrambled eggs or in an omelet, and added to some Hummus. I think a little Zhoug would brighten up all kinds of bowls and be great over roasted root veggies, too. The possibilities are endless.

Home Style Chicken Shawarma

Home Style Chicken Shawarma

Making Zhoug, Zhug, Skhug – Spicy Herb Sauce:

My Zhoug, Zhug, Skhug – Spicy Herb Sauce is super simple to make. It’s just a toss it in the food processor and blend away for a perfectly fresh, herby and spicy accompaniment. This recipe is so quick, you’ll have it done in minutes. Just like the Lemon Garlic Tahini Sauce, I think it took me longer to put on my shoes and go cut my parsley and bring it in than it did to make the whole recipe. I like using my food processor because I can see the consistency a little better, but any blender will work fine, too.

Zhoug, Zhug, Skhug – Spicy Herb Sauce is another recipe adapted from Chef Yotam Ottolenghi to go with the fantabulous Home Style Chicken Shawarma I made the other day. I barely adapted the recipe, mostly just figured out the American type measurements. I love the way Chef Ottolenghi uses a combo of olive oil and water in this recipe, so it doesn’t feel so heavy and tastes a bit lighter, but I like to keep in mind that that olive oil has the good fat with lots of Omega 3.

I started out with one jalapeno because I had company, and it was very nice The second time? I added three. And some Red Chile flakes. Wowza! So go by your taste on the heat level. I think the Chef’s recipe is pretty classic and maybe even a touch “fancier” than some Zhoug recipes (like what do I know, I grew up in an Iowa farming community with a population of about 3,ooo! In the ’60s!) but some recipes add a little caraway, too. Anyway, I love this Zhoug just like it is but feel free to tinker to taste.


Home Style Chicken Shawarma

Home Style Chicken Shawarma

Saving Money on Zhoug, Zhug, Skhug – Spicy Herb Sauce:

Olive oil is a bit pricier than some oils, but even the frugal me shells out for it just because I do think it’s a better quality oil than many. I also love being able to buy oil made here in the States. My go-to method for ages was to watch the store sales for buy one get one free or half off, and then slap a couple coupons on them, but those sales have been far and few between. The olive oil at Costco in the big double jugs is a great price. I divide it and pour part of it in a smaller container I keep handy and keep the rest up in a dark cupboard. Aldi has great prices and smaller bottles of olive oil.

It’s so worthwhile to grow a few fresh herbs in a pot (or in your yard) and I don’t think I could get along without mine. Most plants don’t cost any more than a bunch of herbs at the store (and many far less) so there’s little risk, even if you kill them off. Then you just have dried herbs. I bring mine in during the winter where they tend to languish a bit but generally last until spring when I put them back out.

Zhoug, Zhug, Skhug - Spicy Herb Sauce

Zhoug, Zhug, Skhug – Spicy Herb Sauce

Zhoug, Zhug, Skhug - Spicy Herb Sauce

  • Servings: 1/2 cup
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • 1/4 cup parsley
  • 1 to 3 jalapenos. de-seeded and roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • a pinch of sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

Roughly chop the cilantro and parsley. Add to a food processor with the garlic and jalapeno and pulse several times. Add remaining ingredients. Run until a rough sauce is made, stopping to scrape down as needed. The sauce should have texture and liquid.

Taste and adjust seasonings. If a hotter Zhoug is desired, try a few red chili flakes.

Store any excess in the refrigerator in a tightly covered jar.

Slightly adapted from Chef Yotam Ottolenghi 


I’ll be sharing my Zhoug, Zhug, Skhug – Spicy Herb Sauce at Fiesta Friday #240. The co-hosts this week are Deb @ The Pantry Portfolio and Laurena @ Life Diet Health. Stop by and check out Fiesta Friday – it’s where so many great bloggers share their recipes weekly and you’re bound to find a lot of inspiration and something to cook! So funny, Deb’s latest post is for a Garlicky Hummus and Laurena’s for a Warming Spicy Lentil Dal. No, it’s not a conspiracy! We just all picked Middle Eastern Recipes this week! Perfect for fall days!

I’m sharing, also, at Fern’s site, The Lazy Gastronome on her weekly Link Up, What’s for Dinner?

Zhoug, Zhug, Skhug - Spicy Herb Sauce. Make it for your Middle Eastern meals and then use it on everything from bowls to oven roasted veggies to scrambled eggs! Super simple! #Zhoug #HomemadeZhoug #Homemade Zhug #HomemadeSkhug

22 thoughts on “Zhoug, Zhug, Skhug – Spicy Herb Sauce

  1. Pingback: How to Create a Copycat CAVA Bowl at Home – Ambitiously Cierra

  2. Ron

    Zhug as my local market sells it will certainly clear one’s sinuses. It’s addictive in my case, once I dip a falafel or flat bread in it I can’t stop. My favorite fusion is to use in in my Tex-Mex recipes. Try dipping corn chips in it. Addictive…

    • FrugalHausfrau

      Great ideas! I love this stuff and never thought to make it at home. Funny but another a couple of other fave bloggers are from Texas, too. K.R. from Just another Foodie and I think Karen from Back Road Journals was originally a Texan (although I might be wrong about that). Maybe I was adopted, lol!! Years in Colorado really got me familiar with the Southwestern flavors but I love Tex Mex, too, more than any transplanted Iowan should!

  3. This has got to be good Mollie!! Has all my favorite flavors– but I think I’d stick to 1 jalapeno! Sort of a spice heat whimp. And– your photos are awesome– beautiful color– and so glossy– it could almost drip off the screen! Good one!! xox

  4. Ok so pardon my ignorance Mollie…. but I’ve never heard of zhoug, zhug, skhug 🙂 It sounds Chinese to me, but I see it hails from the Middle East. Love all those sauces, and I see you’ve made it easy for your readers by incorporating it all on one page. I’m definitely gonna have to bookmark this page and try them all. I know Elaine @ Foodbod probably loved this post too, as she’s all into Middle Easter flavors as well. Have you ever tried making naan bread? I know it will go real well with it. I keep promising myself to try making them, but just haven’t got around to trying them. How about that’s your homework for the weekend. Research and tell us all about naan bread and some tips n’ tricks that you do so well 🙂

  5. One of my favorite condiments!
    You are right in that this recipe is “fancier” than the traditional recipe. In Israel, where it was brought to by Yemenite Jews, it’s made with cilantro only, and with neutral oil rather than olive oil. No water or sugar is added.

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