This summer, while travelling, I had lunch at a restaurant owned by an Armenian and a Syrian. The food was delicious and drew on the culinary customs of a wide region. One thing I found especially appealing was a green sauce which was served not just with grilled food, but also with bread.
Naturally I tried to work it out when I got home. I thought it might be chermoula, but I wasn’t sure. I’ve only had that with grilled food. So I whipped up a batch. Sadly it wasn’t what I was looking for. As nice as it is on the grill, chermoula isn’t so good with just bread.
So I tried another guess and made zhoug. It was just what I was looking for: nice with bread, as well as grilled foods.
The two sauces use similar ingredients, but there are important differences between them. Both require a 2:1 proportion of coriander leaves to parsley. Both use garlic, salt, lemon juice, cumin and olive oil. It’s the small differences that make all the difference when it comes to making a dip that’s nice with bread. While chermoula contains paprika, a pinch of cayenne and a little saffron, zhoug uses coriander, cardamom and a good quantity of chiles. I used 3 whole green chiles and topped it with dried chili flakes for a good measure.
Both chermoula and zhoug are great with the grill, but zhoug is also great with bread.