Commercially-prepared red skhug
|Place of origin||Yemen|
|Main ingredient(s)||hot peppers, garlic, coriander|
|Variations||Red Skhug, Green Skhug|
Skhug or zhug (Yemeni Arabic: سحوق saḥawaq, Hebrew: סחוג s'khug) is a Middle Eastern hot sauce. Originating in Yemeni cuisine and brought to Israel by Yemenite Jews, the condiment is now a staple of Israeli cuisine.
Skhug is made from fresh hot peppers seasoned with coriander, garlic and various spices. Skhug adom (red skhug) is made with red peppers and skhug yarok (green skhug) from green peppers. Skhug chum (brown skhug) is skhug yarok with tomatoes. In Israel, skhug is sometimes referred to by the generic term kharif (Hebrew: חריף; lit. "spicy"). It is a popular condiment at Israeli falafel and shawarma stands, and served with hummus.
Traditional Yemenite cooks prepare zhug using two stones: a large stone used as a work surface and a smaller one for crushing the ingredients. Other alternatives are a mortar and pestle or a food processor.
The Jews of Yemen ascribed medicinal properties to chili pepper. According to Yemenite Jewish folklore, the Jews of Yemen survived a great famine, subsisting on tomatoes, hilbeh and chili peppers. According to another legend, a severe epidemic struck Yemen but the Jews were spared due to their extensive use of these foods. The chili pepper plant was believed to help the body withstand illness, improve vitality and aid digestion, as well as prevent and eliminate intestinal parasites.
- Muhammara or acuka, a hot pepper dip in Levantine cuisine
- Harissa, a hot Chili pepper paste in Maghreb cuisine
- Ajika, a dip in Caucasian cuisine, based on a boiled preparation of hot red peppers, garlic, herbs and spices
- Cuisine of the Sephardic Jews