Green Schug: A Middle Eastern Hot Sauce

Green schug, Middle Eastern hot sauce, in a bowl

The Spruce / Preethi Venkatram

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 10 mins
Servings: 8 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
126 Calories
14g Fat
1g Carbs
0g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
×
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 126
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 14g 17%
Saturated Fat 2g 9%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 136mg 6%
Total Carbohydrate 1g 1%
Dietary Fiber 0g 2%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 14mg 72%
Calcium 11mg 1%
Iron 0mg 2%
Potassium 53mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This popular Middle Eastern hot sauce goes by many spellings and pronunciations, depending on region and language. It's known as schug, zhug, and skhug, and it might be red, green, or brown. But there's one consistent characteristic among all versions and spellings of this condiment: It's hot.

The sauce is made from fresh red or green hot peppers and is seasoned with garlic, coriander, and cumin. Then fresh herbs such as parsley and cilantro are added. A brown schug is usually a green pepper variety with tomatoes added in.

Unlike hot sauces, which are primarily designed to add heat, schug is a very fresh and brightly flavored sauce. The combination of herbs, spices, and lemon give it an extraordinary flavor, one that's an ideal complement when drizzled over roasted vegetables, grilled meats, fish, chicken, or even eggs. Serve with pita bread, grilled vegetables and meat, and sour cream or yogurt.

Its flavor is not dependent on heat, so if you shy away from hot, spicy foods, don't avoid schug. Simply use fewer peppers and be sure to remove the seeds and veins, which removes some of the heat but preserves the pepper's flavor.

Ingredients

  • 4 large jalapeño peppers

  • 4 cloves garlic

  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley

  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander

  • 1/2 cup olive oil

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for green schug: a Middle Eastern hot sauce

    The Spruce / Preethi Venkatram

  2. Remove the stems from the jalapeño peppers. Or, if you like a very spicy sauce, add them whole to a food processor.

    Jalapeño peppers in a food processor

    The Spruce / Preethi Venkatram

  3. Add the garlic cloves, parsley, cilantro, lemon juice, salt, ground cumin, and ground coriander to the food processor and pulse a few times to chop everything up.

    Garlic cloves, parsley, cilantro, lemon juice, salt, ground cumin, and ground coriander in a food processor

    The Spruce / Preethi Venkatram

  4. With the machine running, pour the olive oil through the feeder tube to create an emulsion. The final sauce should still be a little chunky and have pieces of herbs in it.

    Green schug with olive oil in a food processor

    The Spruce / Preethi Venkatram

Tips

  • If you prefer less heat, remove the seeds and veins of the jalapeño peppers when you are prepping them. Using two jalapeño peppers instead of four will also give an excellent flavor with very minor heat.
  • It's a good idea to wear gloves while working with hot peppers, as the heat can stay on your fingers and cause pain if you touch your eyes. Otherwise, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and hot water after handling the peppers.

Variations

The origin of the sauce is in Yemenite cuisine, but it's now popular all throughout the countries of the Middle East, and each region has its own spin on the sauce.


In Israel, the sauce is sometimes called harif, which is a generic term for hot and spicy.

It's used as an accompaniment for falafel, sabich, and shawarma, and can be found in condiment bottles at places that serve and sell those foods.


If you consider yourself a chile pepper head, feel free to use any hot peppers you like. Just keep some cooling sour cream or yogurt around for balance.

How to Store and Freeze Green Schug

This sauce will keep in the refrigerator in an airtight container for four to five days. Stir to recombine the ingredients. It also freezes well, especially if you have an ice cube tray with a lid. This way, you can easily pop out frozen cubes of sauce as you need them and return to the freezer. Frozen schug keeps for six months.