I know, I know. This recipe won’t appeal to everyone. If you appreciate spicy jalapeños and keep a bottle of hot sauce on your table (Cholula forever)—this recipe is for you, and definitely for me. It’s a great solution for surplus garden jalapeños, too.
I first encountered shatta when I was wandering through the grocery store and a nice local man was offering samples of hummus and condiments, under his brand called Yummy’s Choice. Being the curious food blogger, I felt compelled—nay, obligated—to try them all. Would you expect any less?
They were all delicious, but I couldn’t leave without a tub of shatta, which is sort of a chunky, spicy Middle Eastern jalapeño sauce. It reminds me a bit of Italian pesto, which typically includes basil and pine nuts, and Argentinian chimichurri, which is a parsley blend with sherry vinegar.
I’d never heard of shatta before, so please forgive me if this recipe isn’t quite authentic. After some googling, it seems that shatta recipes aren’t very consistent. In fact, most recipes that I’ve seen online are red, but Yummy’s Choice uses jalapeños so that’s what I’m using. The common ingredients are spicy peppers, fresh herbs, garlic, cumin, and spicy peppers.
I loved his sauce so much that I modeled mine after his. His version includes some walnuts, so mine does as well, even though I didn’t see walnuts used in other online recipes. I also added a tiny bit of sherry vinegar on my own accord, which gave it some extra zing.
I love this sauce drizzled onto hummus, guacamole, rice and beans, quesadillas/burritos/nachos and even mac and cheese. It would go well with your favorite Middle Eastern/Mediterranean recipes, of course. If you don’t enjoy spicy flavors like I do, I promise to have a sweet treat for you soon.
- 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh parsley leaves
- 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves
- 1/4 cup raw walnuts or pepitas
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 1/4 teaspoons fine sea salt (scale back to 1 teaspoon if using regular table salt)
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 10 twists of freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
- 8 ounces fresh jalapeño peppers (about 6 medium-to-large), sliced into 1" chunks
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- In a food processor, combine everything but the jalapeños and olive oil. Blend until the ingredients are finely chopped, pausing to scrape down the sides as necessary. Add the jalapeños and pulse until the peppers are finely chopped, but not completely obliterated.
- Stir the olive oil into the sauce by hand, and transfer to a bowl for serving. If the sauce is outrageously spicy at first, give it a 30-minute rest or longer—it usually mellows out a bit. This sauce keeps well in the refrigerator, covered, for 1 to 2 weeks.
Make it nut free: Substitute pepitas for the walnuts.