Recipe – Zhoug Sauce

Prep Time

10 minutes

Cooking Time



About 1 1/4 cups


  • 4 medium cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 2 packed cups fresh cilantro (about 2 bunches, mostly leaves but skinny stems are ok)
  • 4 medium jalapeños, seeds removed but reserved
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, more to taste
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil


  1. Put the garlic in the food processor and process until the garlic is broken into tiny pieces.
  2. Add the cilantro, jalapeño (without the seeds,) salt, cardamom, cumin and red pepper flakes. Process until the mixture is finely chopped.
  3. While running the food processor, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Scrape down the sides and blend until the sauce is mostly smooth.


This will keep in the refrigerator, in an airtight container, for up to 1 week.

For a spicier sauce, add the jalapeño seeds or additional red pepper flakes (1/4 teaspoon at a time) and blend again.

Too bitter? You can add more salt or give the flavors some time to mellow. The flavor changes with time, so let it chill in the fridge and try it again in an hour.

No cilantro or want to make it Spicy Basil Sauce? Sub basil for cilantro. Omit jalapeño and use hot Banana Pepper or Hungarian Wax, or just use the red chili flakes. Sub oregano, parsley, rosemary, thyme etc. for the cardamom and cumin.

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