Zhough (pronounced ‘zoog’) is a spicy, Middle Eastern Cilantro Sauce somewhat like chimichurri. There are so many different dishes you can use it with, soups, barb-b-qued fish, vegetables and meats, flavour other sauces, create dips and spreads for sandwiches and wraps … I could go on. However, there is no real end to the uses for zhough cilantro pistou.
The best part about making your own zhough, is that it only takes a few minutes and when fresh cilantro is in abundance, as it often is in our area of Paradise, it’s a great way to use up seasonal goodies. A word about the difference between pesto and pistou might be required here. Basically, pistou is the French version of pesto and contains no nuts. As this is nutless, we decided to call it a pistou.
What does zhough taste like?
Zhough is a spicy, green chili pesto made with cilantro. It comes from Yemen but is also popular in Israel and Middle Eastern cuisine as it gives any dish a huge burst of flavor. Wildly aromatic, spicy, earthy and fresh. And making zhough is as simple as making pesto.
Cilantro pistou called zhough – 1 large jar
- 1–3 whole jalapenos, sliced (start with one, if unsure)
- 2 fat garlic cloves
- 1 bunch cilantro, small stems
- ½ teaspoon ground cardamon
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt, more to taste
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, more to bring to desired consistency
- 2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice and zest of 1 lemon
- ½ teaspoon chili flakes more to taste (optional)
- Place all ingredients ( except oil) in a food processor and pulse until it’s uniformly chopped. Add oil and lemon juice process into a coarse paste. For a looser version, add a bit more oil.
- Taste for salt and heat, adding more if necessary. Add chili flakes if you like.
- Store in a sealed jar in the fridge for up to a week.