Several years ago we were invited to a friend’s house for a delicious taco meal. She gave us so many toppings and salsas to try. One of my favorites was green and fairly spicy. It turned out to be from Trader Joe’s and called Zhoug sauce.
Zhoug sauce is a spicy cilantro sauce with origins in Yemen. I started getting it at Trader Joe’s every time I had a chance. I discovered that it turns a simple fried egg and jasmine rice into a very satisfying dish. Something quick, fresh, and flavorful when one is not in the mood for cooking!
Zhoug sauce reminded me of the coriander (cilantro) chutney that my mother used to make. She would lightly char shallots, green chili, and cilantro in a pan. Then she’d use a mortar and pestle to grind everything up with some fresh tamarind. She would finish the sauce with mustard oil.
Since I love the flavors so much, I decided to make my own version of coriander chutney. Slight charring the shallots, garlic, and jalapeno gives this sauce a special flavor. This is such a versatile sauce that goes with pretty much everything: roasted veggies, soups, sandwiches, egg dishes. It packs so much flavor, a little goes a long way.
- 1 shallots, peeled, sliced
- 1 jalapeno, sliced
- 1 bunch cilantro, stuff stem removed
- 2 large peeled garlic cloves, sliced
- 1 tbsp tamarind, puree
- 1/2 tsp ground cardamom powder
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/4 tsp chili flakes
- 1/3 cup olive oil, plus 1 tsp
Remove seeds from jalapeno slices if you prefer less spicy sauce. Heat a large non-stick or electric skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tsp of oil to the pan. Swirl the pan to cover the bottom of the pan with oil.
Add shallots, jalapeno, garlic to the pan and cook till lightly colored for around a minute or two. Remove from the pan to a plate and set aside.
Add cilantro to the pan. Cook the cilantro for about 30 seconds till barely wilted. Turn off the heat. Remove the cilantro from the pan and set it aside with your cooked shallots, jalapeno, and garlic.
Transfer the cooked mixture to a food processor along with the rest of the ingredients except the oil.
Pulse until all the ingredients are chopped. While the processor is running, add in olive oil. Process until it resembles a coarse paste.
Transfer the mixture to a serving dish. Drizzle a touch more olive oil on top. I like to add a spoonful of this sauce on pretty much anything. My favorite way to use it along simple lentils and vegetable dishes. A spoonful goes a long way!
Makes 1 cup
Did you make this dish? I’d love to know how it turns out! Feel free to email me or use the hashtag #globaldinein on Instagram.