Zhoug is a spicy Yemenite condiment made from chilli, coriander, garlic and spices. It starts out as a spice blend, then adds wet ingredients to create a sauce that can last a month or so in the fridge if sealed with oil.
I amalgamate the sauce in a blender, but the traditional way is to use a mortar and pestle.
I tried zhoug for the first time in Israel, where it has become a really popular condiment on the Israeli national snack, falafels. I became quite addicted to this sauce and would pile it onto my falafel-stuffed pita rolls.
Others seemed to like it too and I remember one woman splashed the green liquid all over my arm in her excitement. Although I couldn’t understand what she was saying to me, I knew from her red face and giggling that it was an accident.
In Yemen, it is eaten with bread or provides a spicy topping to stews. You could also use it as a marinade or sauce with beef, lamb or fish.
Anna’s very own recipe. Makes ½ cup sauce.
½ teaspoon coriander seeds
1 green cardamom pod
¼ teaspoon caraway seeds
¼ teaspoon cumin seeds
¼ teaspoon black peppercorns
¼ teaspoon salt
1 garlic clove
2 fresh red chillies
1 cup fresh coriander, leaves and stalks
1 tablespoon fresh parsley
4 tablespoons olive oil
1. Mix coriander seeds, cardamom, caraway seeds, cumin seeds and peppercorns then dry roast in a sauce pan for approx. 5 minutes until the spices become fragrant. Cool.
2. Grind spices in a grinder then transfer to blender or mortar and pestle.
3. Add fresh coriander, parsley, chilli and garlic and pound into a paste.
4. Add a little olive oil and salt then mix to combine.
Yemen (Arabic: اليَمَن al-Yaman) is the only republic on the Arabian Peninsula. The country is made up of around 20 million people and 200 islands, is bordered by Oman to the east, Saudi Arabia to the north, the Red Sea to the west and the Arabian Sea to the south.
For almost 3000 years, Yemen was part of the kingdoms controlling the spice trade along the Arabian peninsula. In fact some 10,000 Singaporeans and 4 million Indonesians with Arab ancestors can trace their roots back to Yemen’s spice traders.
It’s spice wealth attracted Ancient Rome which failed to annex it, yet Ethiopia, Persia, the Ottoman Empire and Britain had control at different times.
Unlike most Arabian groups, who are nomadic, Yemenis have lived in villages along the coast and highlands. The population is predominantly Arabic but there was a significant minority population of Jews who developed their own distinct culture. It was their migration to Israel that brought zhoug into the international spot light.
This is my contribution to Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted by Anna from Anna's Cool Finds.
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