Zhoug, a spicy Israeli sauce, is becoming an international trend, winning both international chefs and social media
Zhoug, zhug or skhug; these are just some of the many ways in which one is called delicious spicy sauce typical of Iranian cuisine. This condiment, much loved and used in Israel, Yemen and other Middle Eastern countries, has been starting to become popular in the rest of the world, particularly in the United States. There are many international chefs who appreciate it, there are many restaurants where the sauce makes its appearance on the menu but, above all, so much visibility on social media, where it is becoming a real food trend.
Zhoug, new alternative to sriracha or pesto?
Although there are several variants of zhoug, the most common in Israeli popular cuisine is green and is prepared with fresh coriander leaves, green hot pepper, garlic and cumin, sometimes with the addition of parsley, cloves, cumin seeds and lemon juice. For the equally tasty red version, which recalls the famous one sriracha sauce of Thai origin, red peppers and tomato sauce are used instead. Both the green and the red zhoug, similar to the more well-known hummus and tahina, are used in Middle Eastern cuisine as a condiment for flavoring pita bread, falafel, shawarma (Arabic term for kebab) and shakshouka, a Tunisian dish widespread in Israel which consists of poached eggs with tomato sauce, red pepper, garlic and various spices.
Finally, they are not lacking modern zhoug recipes which provide for the addition of oil, so as to make it a creamy sauce that can represent a valid spicy and light alternative to pesto.
From the Middle East to the conquest of social media
This irresistible spicy sauce, besides being aromatic and tasty, is free of sugar, gluten, dried fruit and is produced with 100% vegetable and natural ingredients, which makes it suitable for many types of diets. Fresh coriander is also considered a herb with remarkable properties antioxidants, much more than basil, and contains a large amount of beta-carotene. All these features, combined with the growing interest of the United States and many Western countries to discover and integrate Middle Eastern cuisine, has meant that the zhoug's popularity in the world it increased dramatically. In the last year, in particular, this Israeli seasoning has been officially recognized as food trend also on social networks, especially on Instagram and on Facebook. This data was released recently by Tastewise, a US food and culinary trend analysis startup with headquarters in Israel. According to the founder of Tastewise, a former Google executive, the considerable surge in consumption and online visibility of this salsa in America is due to the tendency of many consumers and food lovers to explore new exotic flavors and to discover new culinary experiences that are at the same time as healthy and natural as possible.