• 10

    garlic cloves, peeled and smashed

  • 4 to 8

    jalapeños, seeded and sliced

  • 2

    teaspoons fresh lemon juice, more to taste

  • 2

    packed cups roughly chopped cilantro leaves and stems

  • 1

    teaspoon ground cumin

  • ½

    teaspoon ground cardamom or coriander

  • ¼

    teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • ½

    cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • ¾

    teaspoon kosher salt (Diamond Crystal), plus more to taste


  1. Place garlic, jalapeño and lemon juice in a food processor or blender, and pulse to combine, stopping to scrape down the sides of the container with a spatula when necessary.
  2. Add cilantro, cumin, cardamom or coriander, and pepper, and purée until smooth. With the motor running, gradually drizzle in the olive oil to form a homogeneous paste. Pulse in salt. Taste, and add more salt and lemon juice if needed.
  3. Use immediately or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 1 week. Use as a sauce for grilled or roasted meat or seafood, especially full-flavored fish like mackerel, tuna and salmon; spoon it over egg dishes like shakshuka and scrambled eggs; stir it into soups and stews; spread it on sandwiches, especially those filled with falafel, roasted vegetables, or mozzarella and tomato; swirl it into thick yogurt or hummus for a dip.