Sriracha is almost everyone’s favourite sauce. The hot chilli sauce made from garlic, sugar, salt, vinegar and chilli peppers goes with everything from our dear spring rolls, to our sandwiches, to salad dressings, and now even mayonnaise. But sriracha is losing its popularity gradually. Where is this popularity going? And who is the culprit?
Well, you can blame zhoug. The name itself sounds like that of a villain, doesn’t it?
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So, who is this zhoug? Zhoug is a Yemenese sauce, also spelled as zhug or skhug. It is a thick, spicy and fragrant sauce. It is obviously still not as popular as sriracha, but it is slowing climbing the ladder of success.
When we think of Mediterranean cuisine, what immediately comes to our mind is hummus, tahini, pita bread, or the numerous types of cheese. But once you try zhoug, you wouldn’t be able to forget the taste!
Zhoug is essentially a spicy cilantro paste. Cilantro is a herb essentially similar to coriander leaves. It has a fragrant, citrusy flavor. It is more polarizing in taste and smell than the usual coriander leaves. But one can expect a flavor quite similar to our dear staple dhaniya.
To make this lovely sauce, cilantro is mixed with hot green chillies, parsley (another herb!), garlic, and some warm Middle Eastern spices. These spices may include Aleppo pepper, paprika, sumac, cinnamon, cumin, etc. And since the sauce is from the Middle East, it is incomplete without a dash of the delicious olive oil!
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Zhoug, just like sriracha, is a very versatile ingredient. It is used in Middle Eastern dishes like the falafel, shwarama, sandwiches, as a topping for hummus or soup. When mixed with some extra olive oil, wine or vinegar, it can also be used as a salad dressing. It can also be mixed with yogurt and used as a marinade, or even be used in Buddha bowls. It goes great with roast vegetable and meat, especially lamb.
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This delectable sauce has many varieties. The green zhoug, red zhoug, cheese zhoug, brown zhoug with tomatoes, and many more varieties are coming up. This new condiment is making its way into the global food scene.
Dear sriracha, watch out for zhoug!