The best thing about this sauce is that it seems to get better and better in the fridge. Also if you want to make falafel, having a quantity of zhoug on hand makes seasoning your ground chickpeas a doddle.
Makes 1 litre
Coriander (a nice big bunch, coarsely chopped it should just about reach the 1lt mark of the blender jar or food processor)
Optional chopped parsley and/or mint (the original recipe is just coriander but a hint of other herbs lends a nice complexity, or bulks out your coriander if you’re short)
Garlic (2 – 4 small cloves depending on preference, I use 3)
Chilli (3 hot serrano, 2 large hot jalapeño or 4 generic mild supermarket green chillis. Put in less if you’re not a fan of too much heat, stir in some chilli flakes or Aleppo chilli powder at the end if you feel it needs a boost, it is meant to be pretty fiery)
Olive oil (about 500 ml, or just keep pouring into the blender until your zhoug hits the litre mark)
Spices (equal parts coriander, cumin and cardamom, or tweak the ratio of those three to your heart’s content. About three teaspoons of combined spice powder)
Salt (fairly salty because it helps preserve it in the fridge, but not so salty that you taste it and think oh no this is really salty)
Lemon juice (a squeeze can balance it out nicely because pureed coriander is really quite sweet)
So basically you make this while stood over the blender, adding all the ingredients, blitzing, tasting, adding, stirring, tasting. It’s a question of balancing sweetness, saltiness, heat, acidity and spice. Fully blend the garlic and some oil first to ensure there are absolutely no chunks, then start adding the herbs and spices but dont liquefy these too much, just a runny chimichurri texture is fine. You should be able to pour it straight into a jar and fridge it, or if you finish a bottle of olive oil while making it, why not put your finished zhoug back into the empty bottle (you might need to remove the little plastic poury thing from inside the bottleneck first)? Honestly I’ve got through a bottle over the course of a month and it didn’t ever taste wierd, if anything it improved.
I’m not going to say what zhoug goes well with, there are variations throughout Arab and Levantine cuisine, but make it and see if you don’t start adding it to all sorts of stuff.