The pros: Trader Joe's Zhoug Sauce is a new addition to the refrigerated dips and sauces at Trader Joe's. This product is also vegan if that is important to you.
The cons: If you are sensitive to the taste of cilantro or cumin, then pass on the this sauce. The oil in this package is quite yellow and could possible stain anything it touches that isn't treated right away. This is not a low calorie sauce.
The verdict: If you are unfamiliar with Yemeni cuisine, odds are you are not alone. Unless you live in an area where there is a large Yemeni population, this might be a completely new product for you. The only Middle Eastern cuisine that my husband and I have had is Halal. In and around NYC there is quite a few Halal food establishments that are popping up. Halal Guys is an expanding chain near us. And yes, it has been worth the trip into Manhattan at odd hours to satisfy our late night cravings.
There is something uniquely flavorful about the Halal Guys. Perhaps it is the sauce. If you order, odds are you will be asked about red sauce and white sauce. The red sauce is darn hot. I've only used a few drops of that hot red sauce. The white sauce tempers the heat and almost reminds me of a ranch sauce. Regardless, this green Zhoug is not something they offer there. However, when I first tried this, I had it with my platter of Halal. I did skip the red sauce and reach for this far more moderately hot sauce.
This green sauce is flavorful and brings the heat and was a great compliment to everything on my plate, which was rice and chicken that night. While the package here says "spicy, spicy green condiment", this is more of a medium heat. It's nothing that caused a sweat, but can help to mildly clear your sinuses. It's not the hottest thing I've tried at Trader Joe's. But it's not mild either. How could you enjoy this? Honestly, the same way you would a pesto or chimichurri. Zhoug sauce is essentially a herbacious sauce. It's something that you should enjoy straight from the fridge as a finishing item. I wouldn't dare cook with it as you might lose that freshness.
This is very flavorful sauce. The cilantro is the first flavor that hit me, the heat kicked in a bit later. This is just a really pleasant spicy sauce with the flavor of japaleno, cumin, and red pepper flakes. What can you have this with? So far, I've had this with rice, chicken, and bread, and a number of other items where a herb sauce would be appreciated. I think this is a very flexible sauce that as long as you like: heat, cilantro, and cumin. Mine was very fresh, but just be careful with the oil here. It will leave a yellow residue.
For $2.99 this is worth a try if you like those rich and flavorful items and you can handle the medium heat that this product has. I enjoyed it, it's not exactly diet food, but in moderation is was a great compliment to pretty much anything.
Here is the visual run down of what you get if you buy this product:
The container of Trader Joe's Zhoug Sauce:
The nutritional information and the ingredients:
Out of the package you get:
Would I buy this again? Yes, I would buy Trader Joe's Zhoug Sauce again. It was so very different and tasty. It's not like anything I have ever had previously.
Want to see more items I've reviewed from Trader Joe's? Click on Thoughts & Reviews of Trader Joe’s for a searchable list.
Did you try it? Let me know what you think in the comments section!