Zhug (pron. zoog) is a Yemenite spice, brought to Israel by the Yemenite Jews. There are many variations out there, but the basics are all the same.

Presumably this could be a great compliment to malawach or jachnun, though if you're having Jachnun and Zhug for breakfast, you may want to make sure to get the spice out of your breath before you go anywhere. Being a condiment, it is of course rather flexible in uses and composition, so feel free to go as you like with the ingredients.

This version is from Claudia Roden's New Book of Middle Eastern Food (Penguin, 1985) and is a pretty standard rendition. The recipe goes as such:



  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp caraway seed
  • 3-4 cardamom pods
  • 4 strong dried hot peppers soaked in water 1 hour
  • 1 whole head garlic (peel cloves first)
  • a good bunch of coriander leaves (remove stems)
  • salt
  1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl and grind to a paste
Of course there are variations on this. Some add garlic, some replace pepper with peppercorns, some specify how much coriander to use or specify chilis specifically for the hot peppers and to use a blender. As the chef, it's up to you to add more or less garlic as you like, more peppers, and prepare how you like.

Long-term storage is easy - jar it. It can keep for a few weeks. Some people suggest putting a layer of oil over the top when you jar it (top of the Zhug, not the top of the jar), but I'm no master chef so I don't know what this would accomplish exactly. Couldn't hurt though. Presumably, this could be considered an Israeli food, and, as mentioned, would likely go well with malawach or jachnun.

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