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Skhug (Zhoug, Zhug, Shug, Schug)

Skhug (pronounced skoog) also goes by the spelling zhoug, zhug, shug, and schug. This brightly flavored sauce is a great way to elevate any dish to the next level. Many liken it to pesto or chimichurri because it is so versatile. Spicy, fresh, and fragrant, skhug adds a nice pop of color to any meal and comes together quickly for a condiment you’ll want to put on everything; it’s so good I could eat it with a spoon. 

WHAT IS SKHUG?

You’ve probably seen the zhoug floating around the internet for being the tasty green sauce from Trader Joe’s. However, zhoug, also called skhug is a delicious and versatile spiced green sauce and condiment from Yemen that is popular throughout the Middle East as well; it’s made with fresh herbs, garlic, chilis, olive oil, lemon, and freshly ground spices. Prepare skhug two ways; chop the ingredients and combine them in a bowl, or make the sauce in five minutes using a food processor.

WHAT YOU NEED TO MAKE THIS RECIPE

  • Spices: Season the sauce with salt and whole spices like coriander seed, cumin seed, black peppercorn, and green cardamom. We toast the spices to pronounce the flavor and ground them before adding them to the sauce. Freshly ground, whole spices make all the difference but feel free to use ground spices if you’re in a hurry.
  • Olive Oil: What would Yemeni, Israeli or Middle Eastern sauce be without a bit of olive oil?
  • Lemon Juice: Fresh lemon juice is the perfect pop of acid to tie the sauce together.
  • Garlic: I suggest using four cloves, but don’t let my recipe tell you how much garlic to use – go for it.
  • Jalapeños: I prefer jalapeño, but you can use serrano or Thai chilis if you want something spicier.
  • Herbs: Recipes vary, but I prefer the combination of freshly chopped parsley and cilantro.

HOW TO MAKE SKHUG

Dry toast the coriander, cumin, black peppercorn, and green cardamom in a skillet for 5 minutes over medium heat.

Add the toasted spices to a spice grinder or mortar and pestle and grind into a powder. Set it aside.

Method One: Finely dice the garlic, jalapeño, parsley, and cilantro. Then, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, jalapeños, parsley, cilantro, and salt in a mixing bowl. Finish the sauce by stirring in the reserved spices.

Method Two: Add the lemon juice, garlic, jalapeños, parsley, and cilantro to a food processor and pulse to combine. Then, stir in the olive oil, salt, and reserved, whole spices.

PREPARING TIPS

  • Remove the green outer shell from the cardamom pod before grinding it.
  • This recipe calls for one cup of chopped parsley and cilantro. While you can chop any part of the cilantro plant (stems and leaves), I recommend only chopping the parsley, as the stems taste bitter.
  • Whether you chop the ingredients or add them to a food processor, stir in the olive oil at the end for a perfect finish.
  • Ideally, aim to prepare this sauce at least 1 hour before you plan to serve, so the ingredients have time to combine.

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SERVING SUGGESTIONS 

There are one hundred ways to use this sauce, but here are a few to spark your creativity.

  • Roasted Vegetables
  • Falafel
  • Grilled Shrimp
  • Labneh
  • Hummus
  • Flatbread
  • Chicken or Gyro Pita
  • Scrambled Eggs
  • Grilled Fish
  • Steak
  • Avocado Toast
  • Roasted Cauliflower
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Lentils
  • Grilled Eggplant

WHAT TO DO WITH THE LEFTOVERS 

  • FRIDGE – Store leftovers in an air-tight container; it will keep for 3-5 days. Bring the sauce to room temperature before servings since the olive oil will harden once cool.
  • FREEZE – I often make extra to freeze ahead; pour the extra sauce into a freezer-safe bag. Skhug will freeze for six months. Alternatively, you can divide the leftover sauce into an ice tray, freeze it, then add the cubes to a freezer-safe bag until you’re ready to use it.
  • REPURPOSE –  Make compound butter or combine the leftovers with mayonnaise to prepare a homemade aioli. Mix skhug with yogurt to make the perfect veggie dip.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS 

What is skhug sauce made of?

Skhug sauce is a hot sauce made from jalapeño, parsley, cilantro, and various spices. It can be red or green, depending on the chili used. Some variations only use cilantro, but I love to include parsley.

What does Zhoug taste like?

Zhoug is bold, bright, and herbaceous. It is garlicky, herby, and because of the chilis, it has a nice kick. If you’re sensitive to spice I recommend deseeding the jalapeños and reducing the amount you include.

YOU SHOULD ALSO TRY: 

Skhug in a bowl with pita bread in the background.

Skhug (Zhoug, Zhug, Shug, Schug)

Tressa Jamil
The brightly flavored sauce, skhug is the perfect way to elevate any dish to the next level. It comes together quickly for a condiment you'll want to put on everything.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Course Appetizer, Dip, Dressing, Sauce
Cuisine Mediterranean, Middle Eastern
Servings 4 Servings
Calories 259 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • ½ teaspoon coriander seed, toasted and ground
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seed, toasted and ground
  • ¼ teaspoon black peppercorn, toasted and ground
  • 4 green cardamom, green shell removed, toasted and ground
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 jalapeños, finely chopped
  • 1 cup fresh curly leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup olive oil

Instructions
 

  • Dry toast the coriander, cumin, black peppercorn, and green cardamom in a skillet for 5 minutes over medium heat.
  • Add the toasted spices to a spice grinder or mortar and pestle and grind into a powder. Set it aside.
  • Method One: Finely dice the garlic, jalapeño, parsley, and cilantro. Then, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, jalapeños, parsley, cilantro, and salt in a mixing bowl. Finish the sauce by stirring in the reserved spices.
     Method Two: Add the lemon juice, garlic, jalapeños, parsley, and cilantro to a food processor and pulse to combine. Then, stir in the olive oil, salt, and reserved, whole spices.

Notes

Cooking Tips: 
  • Remove the green outer shell from the cardamom pod before grinding it.
  • This recipe calls for one cup of chopped parsley and cilantro. While you can chop any part of the cilantro plant (stems and leaves), I recommend only chopping the parsley, as the stems taste bitter.
  • Whether you chop the ingredients or add them to a food processor, stir in the olive oil at the end for a perfect finish.
  • Ideally, aim to prepare this sauce at least 1 hour before you plan to serve, so the ingredients have time to combine.
 
Nutrition Disclosure:
  • The nutritional information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for professional advice.
 
Web Story: 
  • Check out our web story for zhoug!

Nutrition

Serving: 2 TablespoonsCalories: 259kcalCarbohydrates: 4gFat: 27gSodium: 761mgFiber: 2gSugar: 1g
Keyword skhug
Did you make this recipe? Let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and follow @thejamilghar or tag #thejamilghar on Instagram!
Recipe Rating




Natasha

Friday 16th of September 2022

Okay, you weren't kidding. I could put this on everything!

Tressa Jamil

Friday 16th of September 2022

I truly is THAT good!