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Commercially-prepared red skhug
Alternative names Zhug
Type Condiment
Place of origin Yemen
Region or state Yemen, Israel
Main ingredients hot peppers, garlic, coriander
Variations Red Skhug, Green Skhug
Cookbook: Skhug  Media: Skhug

Skhug or zhug (Yemeni Arabic: سحوق saḥawaq, Hebrew: סחוגs'khug) is a Middle Eastern hot sauce.[1] 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.[2] 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.[3]


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.[4]

Medicinal properties[edit]

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.[5]

See also[edit]