Some Like It Hot: Z’hug

I made and offered two hot sauces when I started in the food business: Z’hug and Harif. For those who like it hot, either of these sauces is a wonderful accompaniment to a meal.

Gutturals are difficult for Americans. Staff and customers came up with so many delightful variations on the pronunciation of z’hug, including “zee-hug”. Finally we settled on referring to the sauces as Green Sauce or Red Sauce if they preferred Harif / Harissa.

Z’hug is a Yemenite Jalapeno-based hot sauce, hence “green.” I make mine in a food processor. The following will make about one quart, so you may want to halve or quarter the recipe, depending on the amount your machine will process evenly.

(Makes 1 quart)


  • Garlic, 1/4+ cup (a big handful)
  • Cilantro, 1 large bunch, chopped
  • Jalapeño pepper, 12 lg, chunked
  • Sea salt, 1 tsp
  • Cumin, 1 tsp
  • Szeged hot paprika, 1 tsp
  • Extra virgin olive oil, 4 TB


  1. Put garlic into food processor first, then chopped cilantro, then chunked jalapeño.
  2. Pulse 20-25 times until all is evenly chopped.
  3. Add all seasonings.
  4. Pulse 2 or 3 times more and push down side of processor container until all contents are evenly chopped.
  5. Add 3-4 TB olive oil and pulse once or twice more.
  6. Move into a one quart storage container.


Ideas? Would like to hear from you!