Shaata, Spicy Sauce

Shaata Recipe, Spicy Sauce

A good sauce can transform a dish from hmmm to yummm. This spicy sauce, sometimes called shaata, zhoug, zhug or sahawiq, can be made in advance and frozen so that you always have some to hand – just thaw thoroughly before use.  I make a batch the first weekend of the month and I’m usually out by the 28th of the month.  

shaata recipe

I was trying to recreate the tomato-based, spicy condiment served at Abu Zaad in Shepherd’s Bush, London. My shaata is not authentic by any means.  It is more of a cross between tomato sauce and chimichurri – herby, fresh and spicy.  When you are next in London, stop by Abu Zaad for the real thing.  

Shaata has plenty of uses. Use it as a falafel sauce. Add 1 teaspoon per egg in our California avocado and spicy eggs recipe. Shaata can replace salsa in most TexMex recipes. The fresh herb flavour works great with beef; use as a base for Beef Chilli to replace the cayenne. Or just mix it with ketchup for a spicy dip for chips.SaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSave


Shaata is sometimes referred to as zhoug. Shaata is a versatile sauce that is a cross between tomato sauce and chimichurri – herby, fresh and spicy.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Cuisine Chinese & Asian
Servings 400 grams


  • 50 g parsley fresh, flat leaf, leaves picked
  • 100 g coriander fresh, leaves picked
  • 4 cloves garlic peeled
  • 8 medium birds eye chilis fresh,stems cut off but left whole
  • 390 g passata preferably with basil or with garlic and onion
  • 200 ml water
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil salad dressing quality, extra virgin olive oil preferred


  • In a food processor, pulse the parsley, coriander, garlic and whole, fresh chilis into a paste.
    zhong sauce
  • In a small saucepan, over low heat, combine herb paste with passata and water.
    middle eastern sauce
  • Heat through on low for about 10 minutes – this “burns off” the raw garlic taste and helps the flavours meld.
  • Turn heat to medium and bubble the sauce for approximately 5 minutes to thicken.
  • Add red wine vinegar and olive oil.
    falafel sauce
  • Let cool and then store in sterilised jars (I use leftover jam jars or mason jars).
  • Freeze extra and thaw completely before use.