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Commercially prepared red skhug
Alternative names Sahawiq, sahowqa, skhug
Type Condiment
Place of origin Yemen
Associated national cuisine Yemeni, Israeli
Main ingredients Hot peppers, garlic, coriander
Variations Red sahawiq, green sahawiq, brown skhug
Cookbook: Zhug  Media: Zhug

Zhug, skhug (Hebrew: סחוג‎) or sahawiq (Yemeni Arabic: سحوق saḥawiq) is a Middle Eastern hot sauce originating in Yemeni cuisine.[1] Brought to Israel by Yemenite Jews, the condiment is now a staple of Israeli cuisine.


Sahawiq is made from fresh red or green hot peppers seasoned with coriander, garlic, salt, black cumin (optional) and various spices, the chief constituency being cumin, black pepper, 3 or 4 cardamom pods (seeds removed and crushed) and a dash of ground cloves.[2] Some also add caraway seed. Its color may be red or green depending on the type of peppers used in its preparation. The respective varieties are called skhug adom ("red skhug") and skhug yarok ("green skhug") in Israel, while skhug chum ("brown skhug") is skhug yarok with tomatoes.[citation needed] In Israel, sahawiq is also sometimes referred to by the generic term harif (Hebrew: חריף; lit. "hot/spicy"). It is a popular condiment at Israeli falafel and shawarma stands, and served with hummus.[3]


Traditional Yemenite cooks prepare sahawiq 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 (fenugreek), 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.[citation needed]

See also[edit]