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Skhug

SkhugSkhug is a brightly flavored sauce that many liken to Pesto or chimichurri because of its versatility. 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.

A bowl of skhug with a spoon scooping into it and naan in the background.

WHAT IS SKHUG?

You’ve probably seen the ‘zhoug’ recipes floating around the internet, popularized by Trader Joe’s and Tiktok. However, zhoug, also called skhug, is a delicious green sauce from Yemen that is popular throughout the Middle East. There are many variations of skhug- each recipe containing a different spelling, often going by zhoug, zhug, shug, and schug; it combines fresh herbs, garlic, chilies, olive oil, lemon, and freshly ground spices.

WHAT YOU NEED TO MAKE THIS RECIPE

  • Spices: Season the sauce with salt and whole spices like coriander, cumin, black peppercorn, and green cardamom. We toast and grind the spices to pronounce the flavor 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 olive oil? Like our Sumac Onions, I recommend using high-quality olive oil since it’s a main ingredient.
  • Lemon Juice: Fresh lemon juice is the perfect pop of acid to tie the condiment together.
  • Garlic: I suggest using four cloves, but don’t let my recipe tell you how much garlic to use- measure with your heart.
  • Jalapeños: I prefer jalapeño, but serrano or Thai green chilis are perfect if you want something spicier.
  • Herbs: Recipes vary, but I prefer the combination of freshly chopped parsley and cilantro.

HOW TO MAKE SKHUG

The full recipe with measurements is in the recipe card below.

Prepare skhug two ways; chop the ingredients and combine them in a bowl, or make the sauce in five minutes using a food processor.

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

Whole spices toasting in a pan.

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

Whole spices toasting in a grinder.

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.

All the ingredients for skhug in a mixing bowl.

PREPARATION 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 leaves, as the stems taste bitter.
  • Whether you chop the ingredients or add them to a food processor, stir the olive oil into the mixture at the end.
  • Prepare the sauce at least 1 hour before serving it so that the ingredients have time to combine.

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A bowl of skhug with a spoon scooping into it.

SERVING SUGGESTIONS 

A little goes a long way; add a dollop of skhug to soup, stew, roast, or use it as a spread for a sandwich or pita. There are many ways to use this sauce, but here are a few ideas to spark your creativity.

WHAT TO DO WITH THE LEFTOVERS 

  • TO STORE – Store leftovers in an airtight container; it will keep for 3-5 days. Bring the sauce to room temperature before serving since the olive oil hardens once cool.
  • TO FREEZE – I often make extra to freeze ahead; pour the leftover sauce into a freezer-safe bag. Skhug freezes 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.
  • TO REPURPOSE – Make compound butter or combine the leftovers with mayonnaise to prepare jalapeño aioli or mix skhug with yogurt for the perfect veggie dip.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS 

What is skhug sauce made of?

Skhug is a hot sauce made from jalapeño, parsley, cilantro, and various spices. It can be red or green, depending on the chilies 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 spicy food, I recommend deseeding the jalapeños and reducing the amount you include.

YOU SHOULD ALSO TRY: 

⭐️ Rate the Recipe 

Feedback is Valuable – It helps us improve and update our recipes, so we can provide delicious meals you love. Consider leaving a comment or rating below the recipe card, and feel free to share your adaptations or ask any questions. We cannot wait to hear about what you’ve made. 

Skhug in a bowl with pita bread in the background.

Skhug

Tressa Jamil
Skhug is a brightly flavored sauce that adds a nice pop of color to any meal, and it comes together quickly for a condiment you'll put on everything.
5 from 2 votes
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 seeds, toasted and ground
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and ground
  • ¼ teaspoon black peppercorns, 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 curly leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 cup 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.
  • Transfer the sauce to an airtight container and refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.

Notes

Preparation 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 leaves, as the stems taste bitter.
  •  Whether you chop the ingredients or add them to a food processor, stir the olive oil into the mixture at the end.
  •  Prepare the sauce at least 1 hour before serving it so that 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.

Nutrition

Serving: 2 TablespoonsCalories: 259kcalCarbohydrates: 4gFat: 27gSodium: 761mgFiber: 2gSugar: 1g
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




Annie

Monday 23rd of January 2023

This sauce is so easy to make and it is now my favorite addition to roasts and sandwiches. Everyone should try this at least once, especially if you enjoy some heat.

Natasha

Friday 16th of September 2022

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

Tressa Jamil

Friday 16th of September 2022

It truly is THAT good!