Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Delicious Zhug (or Z'houg or Shoug or Zhouk) from Yemen!

When I was in the Middle East this past six months, I went to visit friends in a gorgeous place called "Jaffa" (or Yafo) which is a predominantly Arab old city inside the city limits of Tel Aviv in Palestine (or Israel). In this part of the world, there seems to be alternate spellings and names for everything. 

Readers, I fell in love.... with Zhug - a spicy green sauce that I first tasted on falafel and then on Sabic and then on everything! You can buy it fresh at the Tel Aviv airport and so at any given time I had three or four jars of it in my house in Jordan. Oddly, I could not find it in Amman. However - its easy to make at home! 

According to the internet: Zhug was brought to Israel by Yemenite Jews and is now the hot condiment of choice in Israel. Zhug is made with fresh chiles, garlic, coriander, cardamom, and other spices. It is usually very hot, so you should start with a small amount. Mixed with soaked and ground fenugreek, it becomes hilbe (which I'll try to make should I ever find any fresh fenugreek). 

Spice Girl/ Ottolenghi Fangirls
I've since returned to Thailand and I'm sure I won't find any here. I had dinner with my Ottolenghi Cooking Group (with lovely Mistress ofSpicesMango-Ginger and Momomoeats and our designated eater, Vionette) in Bangkok the other night and we made hummus. And I started craving Sabih and Zhug. Tonight, I'll fry some eggplant but this morning, I made Zhug and had it with some hummus on a piece of pita. 

Here's the recipe I used this morning:

2 bunches of cilantro/ coriander (the perfect herb for the middle east as it has two names)
1 bunch curly parsley
2 green chiles serrano chilies, seeded
6 jalapeno chiles, seeded
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp coriander seeds
2 pinches cardamom
2 pinches salt
4 garlic cloves, crushed
3 tbsp olive oil

I blended it all together and made a nice size jar to keep me doing through the cravings.