Also called Zhoug, Zhug or Skhug, Schug sauce is a beautiful Middle Eastern hot sauce that packs in a unique blend of herbs and spices.
It has flavors similar to a green Harissa, but taken to the next level.
It’s zesty, aromatic, spicy and a beautifully flavored concoction you’ll find yourself making and using again and again.
I love spicy food, so naturally, I always try to whip up different sauces and chutneys.
Habanero garlic hot sauce, jalapeno honey and habanero oil are my pantry staples- I just can’t imagine cooking without them, but I still really wanted to experiment with a slightly different condiment this time.
And that’s when I whipped up this green sauce, which is, in some ways, similar to my all time favorite cilantro lime chutney.
What's So Great About the Recipe?
My favorite part about this spicy green sauce recipe is the fact that I can actually make it in a big batch and store it for later too.
This makes it perfect for occasions when I have a lot of cilantro and parsley to put to use, and want to make a versatile condiment using them.
Plus, the sauce is super customizable. I can tweak and play around with the ingredients to my liking too!
Ingredients For the Schug Sauce Recipe
You’ll need a few simple ingredients to make this Yemenite hot sauce.
Cilantro: Fresh cilantro leaves bring beautiful herby flavors into the sauce. You can swap this for some parsley if you want to.
Jalapeno: Jalapeño peppers bring that kick of heat to the sauce. Use as many as your taste buds like.
Garlic: Fresh garlic cloves, with their pungent flavor, complement the other ingredients beautifully. These are an absolute must.
Coriander seeds: Whole coriander seeds bring some subtle earthy flavors into the picture and help tone down the other ingredients too.
Cumin seeds: Cumin seeds again, bring some beautiful rustic flavors to the sauce.
Red pepper flakes: Those teeny tiny specks of red popping in the green mixture are just something else! It’s completely optional though.
Cardamom: Whole cardamom pods have a beautiful sweetness, which works well along with the other ingredients. You’ll need just a couple!
Olive oil: Olive oil brings everything together, and also acts as a sort of natural preservative for the sauce. Use in copious amounts.
Lemon juice: Freshly squeezed lemon juice helps brighten up the sauce and adds a bit of tanginess and tart flavors to complement the heat.
Salt: And of course, you’ll need some salt too. I would recommend using Kosher salt for those beautiful, smooth flavors.
See recipe card for quantities.
Also Read: Sriracha Salt
How to Make Schug Sauce
Ready to try this Schug recipe? Here’s what you’ll need to do.
Start by slicing and de-seeding the jalapenos.
In a food processor, add the parsley and cilantro and pulse a few times.
Next, add in the garlic, coriander seeds, jalapenos, cumin and cardamom and pulse.
Drizzle in the olive oil, add the salt and lemon juice into the food processor and blend. Stir to recombine and add more olive oil or salt if needed.
Substitutions & Variations
- Don’t have freshly squeezed lemon juice? Bottled lime juice can do the trick too.
- If you want some more heat into this spiced green sauce, use Serrano peppers or any other hot peppers of your choice in addition to the jalapeños.
- Want to tone down the heat in this Yementine Schug? Remove the seeds and veins from the peppers before you add them in the mix.
You can also choose to dry roast the whole spices in a pan for a few minutes to bring out their flavors, and then use them for the recipe.
How to Store the Middle Eastern Hot Sauce
If you have some leftovers that you want to store for later, or you’re making a big batch of this Schug sauce, you can do that too.
Simply transfer the sauce into ice cube trays and freeze them until they’re solid, then pop them out and into a Ziploc bag before you freeze them again.
Another great idea is to pour them into a glass jar or an airtight container, top them with some more olive oil and refrigerate them. This should stay fresh for up to 2 weeks.
Tips & Tricks to Nail the Recipe
- If you’re sensitive to spice, you might want to wear gloves while working with the peppers. Make sure you don’t touch your eyes too!
- To get those perfect authentic flavors, skip the food processor and use a mortar and pestle to grind the ingredients instead.
- Based on your personal preference, you can leave the sauce a bit coarse or blend it until it is smooth.
- Lemon zest is another great addition to this sauce, and can bring some beautiful fruity and citrus flavors into the mix.
Also Read: Chinese Hot Mustard
How to Use Schug Sauce
This popular Middle Eastern condiment can be enjoyed in tons of ways.
You can team it up with pita bread and hummus and turn it into a nice appetizer, or make it a part of your favorite falafel recipe.
The sauce can also be used as a spread for your sandwiches and wraps.
You can use it as a marinade for your meats and other grilled proteins to take it to the next level.
Another stunning way to use this green Yemenite Schug is to spoon it into your soups and stews to leave their flavors.
I personally love using this cilantro sauce as a topping on my pizzas and pasta dishes. In fact, you can also add it to your pesto to lend it a bit of a different flavor.
Looking for other recipes like this? Try these:
Schug Sauce (Middle Eastern Hot Sauce)
- 150 g cilantro
- 3-4 garlic
- 1-2 jalapenos
- 1 lemon juiced
- 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 2 cardamom pods
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- salt to taste
- Start by slicing and de-seeding the jalapenos.
- In a food processor, add the parsley and cilantro and pulse a few times.
- Next, add in the garlic, coriander seeds, jalapenos, cumin and cardamom and pulse.
- Drizzle in the olive oil, add the salt and lemon juice into the food processor and blend. Stir to recombine and add more olive oil or salt if needed.
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove