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A bowl with Zhoug sauce and a spoon in it.
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A bright and fresh spicy cilantro sauce from Yemen. Bursting with flavor this simple sauce adds a new meaning to anything it is served with.
Prep Time5 mins
Course: Appetizer, Condiment
Cuisine: Middle East, Yemeni
Diet: Gluten Free, Halal, Low Calorie, Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings: 18 Tablespoons
Calories: 1kcal
Author: Amira


Green Zhoug:

  • 1-3 whole Jalapeño
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 3-4 fresh mint leaves
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper chili flakes optional
  • 2 Tablespoon lime juice
  • 1/4 cup water

For the red Zhug:

  • 1-3 whole Jalapeño
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 1 roma tomato quartered
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • Salt to taste.


To make the green Zhoug:

  • Wash and cut the jalapeño in half, remove seeds if you want less heat.
  • Place cut jalapeño, garlic, mint, cilantro, cumin and coriander in a small food processor and pulse.
  • Gradually add water, lemon juice and salt pulse for a couple of times until uniformly chopped.
  • Taste to adjust heat and salt.

To make the red Zhoug:

  • Place all the ingredients in the food processor and process until uniformly chopped.
  • Taste to adjust heat and salt levels.


  • This is a very adaptable recipe meaning if you do not like very spicy food, you might want to start with only 1 chili pepper.
  • Zhoug is usually made with hotter peppers than jalapeño, so I added a bit a chili flakes to make the sauce hotter. This is completely optional.
  • Add water gradually when making green zhoug so it does not become too watery for your liking.
  • When making the red one do not add water or lemon juice, juices of the tomato is enough.
  • Some people add cardamom to their Zhoug sauce, but my friend’s granny did not do that.
  • Others add part parsley and part cilantro as well, but again this is not what I used to have.
  • To store:
    • Zhug keeps well in the fridge for 2-3 days, make sure to pour a thin layer of olive oil to cover the surface and close the jar tightly.


Calories: 1kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 2mg | Potassium: 8mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 57IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 1mg | Iron: 1mg