Barbecued squid with zhoug

Barbecued squid with zhoug

William Meppem

Zhoug is a hot peppery relish that comes from Yemen. It is eaten with bread, and as a condiment to accompany grilled meats, poultry and fish. It is often blended with tomatoes to make a spicy sauce.


Quantity Ingredient
4 pods cardamom, husks removed
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
4-6 bullet chillies, de-seeded and scraped
2 cups fresh coriander, roots removed
6 garlic cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
splash water
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 small squid tubes, tentacles still attached, if possible
80ml olive oil
1 lemon, zested
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
salt and pepper


  1. To make the zhoug, crush the cardamom pods, peppercorns and caraway seeds in a mortar and pestle. Sift to remove bits. Liquidise the chillies, coriander, garlic, salt and water in a blender, then add the spices and mix in well. Cover with the tablespoon of olive oil.
  2. If you are not confident about cleaning and preparing the squid yourself, ask your friendly fishmonger to help you. You need the tentacles, head and beak to be removed, and the tube split and scraped clean. Keep the tentacles for cooking with the body of the squid.
  3. Score the outside of the squid in a criss-cross pattern. Marinate for a minimum of 6 hours in olive oil, lemon zest and garlic.
  4. When ready to cook, heat the barbecue (or very heavy pan). Season the tentacles and squid pieces and place on hottest part of the barbecue grill, scored side down. After 40 seconds, turn them over. In a moment, they will curl back up into a cylinder shape. Cook for a further minute then remove from the heat.
  5. To serve, stuff the tentacles back into the squid tubes and serve with lemon wedges and a small blob of zhoug on the side. (Beware, it is very hot!)
Middle East
Middle Eastern
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