Israeli Green Zhug (a.k.a. Schug, Sug, Skhug, etc….)

I have been trying for YEARS to make a green zhug just the way I like it, but each time I tried, I found something was a little off. At long last, I think I have finally got it!

Zhug is a traditional Israeli hot sauce, of Yeminite origin, which comes in two varieties, red and green, and which is traditionally served with any Middle Eastern fare in need of spicing up. It is a standard falafel topping, and it is delicious with hummus, tahini, baba ghanouj, labane…. you get the idea.

Though it is cilantro based, it does not taste quite like cilantro, and some who cannot tolerate cilantro love zhug.

Ok, enough of that, here’s the recipe!

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium bunches cilantro, stems remove (use the whole plant, with the stems, from where leaves begin and up)
  • 1 large head garlic (about 10 med-large cloves)
  • 4 green hot peppers (reduce peppers or remove seeds for a milder zhug)
  • 2 dried red peppers or 1 tsp crushed red pepper (omit or reduce for a milder version)
  • Dash of ground cardamom
  • Dash of ground coriander seeds
  • Pinch of salt
  • Extra virgin olive oil

Instructions:

  1. In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, chop the garlic
  2. Add hot peppers (fresh and dried), cilantro, and spices, and pulse until uniformly chopped into a coarse paste
  3. Taste (watch out, it’s hot!), and adjust seasonings, if necessary
  4. Transfer to a small jar and add olive oil. Mix roughly one tbs of olive oil in, and then cover the top of the zhug with a thin layer of oil.
  5. You may serve it immediately, but after about 1 week in the fridge, I find it tastes even better.

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