Sometimes known as green harissa, zhoug is a traditional middle eastern blend of fresh green chilli, coriander, garlic, spices, and olive oil. I'm sure I've tasted something similar before, but I'd certainly never heard the name before Terra Rossa kindly sent me a jar to try for myself. Have you ever come across it?
These ingredients are some of my favourite things, so this may just be my ideal condiment. Of course I had to create a recipe, and I wanted something simple to start with, to highlight the traditional palate of flavours. Roasted vegetables felt right for a chill afternoon, and we'd just got in from a brisk walk across the fields, so we needed a bit of spice to warm ourselves.
Straight from the jar, this is an incredibly fiery concoction. I wasn't sure how well my mouth would hold up to a whole meal this hot, so I added a couple of spoons full of cream. You can still taste the chilli, but the other flavours come out more, and it doesn't burn in quite the same way. (If you like a hotter dish, you could easily skip the cream.)
I bought some giant couscous for the first time a couple of weeks ago (having eaten it in a restaurant and loved the texture) so, since it's from the same sort of region, I served that as an accompaniment.
Roasted Vegetables with Creamy Zhoug Sauce
1 large courgette (zucchini)
1 medium aubergine (eggplant)
1 red pointed pepper
10 chestnut mushrooms
1 large red onion
4 large potatoes
2tbsp double cream
200g giant couscous
1tsp each dried sage & thyme
- Chop the vegetables into bite-sized pieces.
- Steam or boil the potatoes and set aside (a firm variety will work best for this dish).
- Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large frying pan and add the aubergine and courgette. If the aubergine starts to dry, drizzle with a little extra oil.
- After five minutes, add the peppers, onions, and mushrooms. Fry until all vegetables are soft, then turn the heat down.
- In a separate pan, fry the potatoes in a little oil until brown.
- Cook the giant couscous according to the packet instructions (mine took 15 minutes), adding the dried herbs at the same time as the water.
- Combine the cream and zhoug, and stir through the vegetables just before serving. Serve with couscous on the side.