Red Zhug Recipe: A Spicy Yemenite Condiment

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I recently made the amazing red zhug recipe and immediately fell in love with this spicy condiment. Red zhug is a popular Middle Eastern hot sauce made with a blend of spicy red peppers, garlic, cilantro, cumin, olive oil, and lemon juice. It’s perfect for adding a kick of heat and flavor to any dish.

To make this delicious sauce, you’ll need spicy red peppers, cloves of garlic, cilantro, salt, cumin, olive oil, and fresh lemon juice. These ingredients are easy to find and can be adjusted to suit your taste preferences.

Whether you’re a fan of spicy food or just looking to add some new flavors to your cooking, this red zhug recipe is worth trying. It’s a versatile condiment that can be used as a marinade, dipping sauce, or topping for grilled meats, roasted vegetables, and more. So grab your ingredients and let’s get started!

History of Red Zhug

I love red zhug! It’s a spicy and flavorful condiment that adds a kick to any dish. But have you ever wondered where this delicious sauce comes from?

Red zhug is a traditional Yemenite hot sauce that has been around for centuries. It is made with a blend of fresh red peppers, garlic, cilantro, and spices. The recipe varies from region to region and family to family, but the basic ingredients remain the same.

According to legend, red zhug was first created by Yemenite Jews who were looking for a way to add flavor to their bland meals. They experimented with different ingredients and eventually came up with this spicy sauce that quickly became a staple in their cuisine.

Over time, red zhug spread beyond Yemen and became popular throughout the Middle East. Today, it is enjoyed all over the world and is often used as a condiment for falafel, shawarma, and other Middle Eastern dishes.

In recent years, red zhug has gained popularity in the United States as well, with many restaurants and food trucks adding it to their menus. It’s easy to see why – this fiery sauce packs a punch and adds a burst of flavor to any dish.

So the next time you enjoy a spicy meal, remember the rich history behind the delicious red zhug sauce.


  • 1/4 pound of spicy red peppers
  • 5-6 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 cup of packed cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of powdered cumin
  • 3-4 tablespoons of good-quality olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice

How to Make Red Zhug?

zhug recipe

  1. Remove the stems from the peppers, cut them in half, and add them to the food processor. Then, halve the garlic cloves and toss them in with salt, lemon juice, and cumin.
  2. After washing and drying the cilantro, roughly chop it before tossing it into the food processor.
  3. After putting everything in the food processor, pulse until you get a textured paste. Move the red zhug to a bowl, then mix in olive oil for a creamy feel.
  4. Once your red zhug is done, store it in the fridge for weeks. Use it as a dip or a tasty addition to meals whenever you’d like.

Serving Suggestions

As someone who loves experimenting with different flavors and cuisines, I’ve found that red zhug can be a great addition to many dishes. Here are a few serving suggestions that I’ve tried and loved:

With Bread

One of my favorite ways to enjoy red zhug is simply to spread it on a slice of fresh bread. The combination of the spicy, garlicky zhug and the soft, chewy bread is irresistible. I like to use hearty, crusty bread like sourdough or ciabatta, but any bread will do. If you’re feeling adventurous, try making your own bread to pair with the zhug.

As a Condiment

Red zhug can also be used as a condiment to add some heat and flavor to a variety of dishes. Try adding a dollop of zhug to your favorite soup or stew for an extra kick. It also pairs well with grilled meats, roasted vegetables, and even eggs. I like to serve it alongside falafel or shakshuka for a Middle Eastern-inspired meal.

Overall, red zhug is a versatile and delicious condiment that can add some excitement to your meals. Don’t be afraid to get creative and try it with different dishes to find your favorite pairing.

Storage Advice

After making a big batch of red zhug, you may wonder how to store it properly. Here are a few tips to keep your zhug fresh and tasty for as long as possible.

Firstly, it is important to note that red zhug can be stored in the refrigerator for a few weeks. However, it can also be frozen for longer storage. If you plan to freeze your zhug, make sure to store it in an airtight container or a freezer bag to prevent freezer burn.

When it comes to thawing your frozen zhug, it is best to transfer it to the refrigerator the night before you plan to use it. This will allow it to thaw slowly and evenly, preserving its flavor and texture. Avoid thawing your zhug in the microwave, as this can cause it to lose its vibrant color and become mushy.

Another important thing to keep in mind is that the longer the zhug sits, the spicier it becomes. If you prefer a milder flavor, it is best to use your zhug within the first week of making it. However, if you enjoy a spicy kick, let your zhug sit for a bit longer to develop more heat.

In summary, storing red zhug is easy as long as you follow a few simple guidelines. Keep it in an airtight container or freezer bag, thaw it slowly in the refrigerator, and use it within two weeks for the best flavor. With these tips in mind, you can enjoy your homemade zhug for weeks to come.

Health Benefits

As someone who loves to cook, I’m always on the lookout for ingredients that not only taste great but also have health benefits. Red zhug is no exception. Here are some of the health benefits of this flavorful condiment:

Anti-inflammatory Properties

Red zhug contains garlic and chili peppers, both of which have anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation can lead to a variety of health problems, including heart disease, arthritis, and cancer. By incorporating red zhug into your diet, you may be able to reduce inflammation in your body.

Boosts Metabolism

The capsaicin found in chili peppers has been shown to boost metabolism. This means that eating red zhug may help you burn more calories throughout the day. Additionally, capsaicin has been linked to a decrease in appetite, which could help you eat less overall.

Rich in Antioxidants

Red zhug is made with fresh herbs, which are a great source of antioxidants. Antioxidants help protect your cells from damage caused by free radicals, which can lead to aging and disease. By adding red zhug to your meals, you’ll be adding a healthy dose of antioxidants to your diet.

May Improve Digestion

Garlic, another key ingredient in red zhug, has been shown to improve digestion. It can help stimulate the production of digestive enzymes, which can make it easier for your body to break down and absorb nutrients from food.

Overall, red zhug is a delicious and healthy addition to any meal. By incorporating this flavorful condiment into your diet, you may be able to reap some of these health benefits.

Common Pairings

When it comes to pairing red zhug with other dishes, there are a few common pairings that I recommend. In this section, I’ll be highlighting two types of cuisine that pair particularly well with red zhug: Yemeni dishes and Middle Eastern cuisine.

Yemeni Dishes

Since red zhug originates from Yemen, it’s no surprise that it pairs extremely well with traditional Yemeni dishes. One of my personal favorites is mandi, a Yemeni dish made with rice, meat (usually chicken or lamb), and a blend of spices. The spiciness of the red zhug perfectly complements the flavorful spices used in mandi, making for a truly delicious meal.

Another Yemeni dish that pairs well with red zhug is fahsa. This hearty stew is made with chunks of beef, potatoes, and a tomato-based sauce. The spiciness of the red zhug adds a nice kick to the dish, while also helping to balance out the richness of the beef.

Middle Eastern Cuisine

Red zhug is also a great addition to many Middle Eastern dishes. One classic pairing is with falafel. The freshness of the falafel pairs perfectly with the spiciness of the red zhug, creating a delicious contrast of flavors.

Another Middle Eastern dish that pairs well with red zhug is shakshuka. This popular breakfast dish is made with eggs poached in a tomato-based sauce and is often served with bread for dipping. The addition of red zhug adds a nice kick to the dish and helps to elevate the flavors of the tomato sauce.

Overall, red zhug is an incredibly versatile condiment that can be paired with a wide range of dishes. Whether you’re enjoying traditional Yemeni cuisine or exploring the flavors of Middle Eastern cuisine, red zhug is sure to add a delicious kick to your meal.

Cultural Significance

In Yemenite culture, zhug is traditionally served with bread and is often eaten for breakfast. It is believed to have medicinal properties and is said to aid in digestion and boost the immune system.

In Israel, red zhug has become a popular condiment and is often used to add spice and flavor to a variety of dishes. It is a common sight on restaurant tables and is also sold in supermarkets throughout the country.

Red zhug’s popularity has also spread to other parts of the world, particularly in areas with a large Middle Eastern population. It has become a favorite among foodies and spice lovers, who appreciate its bold and complex flavor.


In conclusion, the red zhug recipe is a great addition to any meal. I have found that the combination of spicy and tangy flavors really enhances the taste of the food. By using fresh ingredients, you can make a delicious and healthy sauce that is perfect for dipping, spreading, or marinating.

One thing to remember when making red zhug is to adjust the spice level to your liking. Some people prefer a milder taste, while others enjoy a more intense heat. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different amounts of chili peppers and garlic until you find the perfect balance.

Another tip is to use a food processor or blender to make the sauce. This will ensure that all the ingredients are evenly mixed and finely chopped, giving the zhug a smooth and creamy texture.

Overall, I highly recommend trying out this recipe for red zhug. It’s a versatile and flavorful sauce that can be used in many different ways. Whether you’re a fan of spicy food or just looking to add some variety to your meals, red zhug is definitely worth a try.

In addition to the above, red zhug pairs well with Yemenite jachnun bread.
Get its delicious recipe now (by clicking the image below):
Homemade Yemenite Jachnun Bread

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