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5 from 1 vote

This Middle Eastern condiment is bursting with coriander, chilli, and spice

Written By Brad Archer


Zhoug Recipe

Serves 10

15 Minutes


Middle Eastern


  • 2 green chillies stem removed
  • 2 garlic cloves peeled
  • Bunch of coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cardamon or 4 whole pods
  • 1 tsp whole cumin
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds
  • 80 ml olive oil
  • Half a lemon juice only
  • Salt


Step 1: Toast Cumin

I prefer using whole spices as they pack far more of a punch than those that have been pre-ground and are left to sit in a jar for months and months. If you are using whole spices then give them a toast in a dry pan for a few minutes.

Toasting whole spices in a dry pan
  • You’ll find that the cumin seeds will jump around the pan as they toast, so be careful, but this is exactly what you’re after. They’ll begin to release a strong odour once toasted fully.

Step 2: Blend

You can then pop all the ingredients, excluding the oil, lemon and salt, into a food processor and give everything a blitz until things are roughly chopped. You are looking for a fairly chunky paste. If you don’t have a food processor, you could also use an immersion blender.

Chillies, coriander, garlic in a blender jar from above

Step 3: Slowly Add Oil

Now, while drizzling in your olive oil, continue to process the ingredients. This will take your rough paste to a slightly smooth sauce. There’s nothing wrong with a bit of texture though.

Blending chillies, garlic and coriander with olive oil

Step 4: Season

Add a pinch of salt and a squeeze of lemon juice, and then give it a quick taste. Adjust the seasoning accordingly. If it’s too spicy then add a little more lemon juice. If it’s a bit bland then a pinch of salt will help.


  • Mix Up the Herbs Coriander is the go-to option for zhoug but you could try making it with parsley, basil, mint or a combination of any fresh herbs
  • Thicken Use crushed nuts to both thicken the sauce a little and add a subtle nutty flavour. Ground almonds, pistachios or walnuts all work well
  • Up the Acid Acid will always improve a sauce so try adding a splash of red wine vinegar to give this more of an acidic balance


  • In the Fridge Place the zhoug in an airtight container or jar. Pour a thin layer of olive oil on top to preserve its freshness. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
  • In the Freezer Transfer the zhoug to an airtight container, leaving some space for expansion. You could also use ice cube trays. Freeze for up to 6 months, thawing in the fridge before use.

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If you want to add an authentic, punchy Middle Eastern flavour to meat or vegetables, zhoug will become your new favourite sauce


  • 2 2 Green Chillies

  • 2 2 Garlic Cloves

  • 1 1 Bunch of Coriander

  • 1 tsp 1 Ground Cardamon (or 4 Whole Pods)

  • 1 tsp 1 Cumin

  • 1 tsp 1 Caraway Seeds

  • 80 ml 80 Olive Oil

  • Half a Lemon, Juice Only

  • Salt


  • If you are using whole spices, such as cumin and cardamon, then give it a gentle toast in a dry pan for 5 minutes until your kitchen is filled with the aroma.
  • Pop all of the ingredients besides the oil, lemon and salt into a food processor and blitz until things are chopped and smooth. It should have come together into a rough paste.
  • Continue to blitz the paste whilst drizzling in the olive oil and lemon juice. This should turn the paste into a sauce. You can add more or less oil depending on how runny you want it.
  • Taste, and if it needs seasoning then, add a pinch of salt or a further squeeze of lemon juice.

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