Skhug is a Middle Eastern condiment that has become increasingly popular outside of its native region.
This spicy sauce originates from Yemen and is now enjoyed worldwide, especially in Israel, where it became a staple of Israeli cuisine.
Skhug is made from a mixture of spicy chili peppers, fresh herbs, garlic, and some other spices that vary depending on the recipe.
So what does skhug taste like?
Skhug has a complex flavor profile that ranges from spicy and pungent notes to earthy, slightly sweet, and wildly herbaceous undertones.
What is Skhug?
Skhug, also spelled sahawiq or zhug, is a traditional Yemeni condiment that has become popular in other parts of the Middle East, specifically Israel. In recent years, skhug has become widely known globally and is seen in Middle Eastern restaurants worldwide.
Skhug is a spicy sauce made with a blend of Yemeni or other Middle Eastern green chili peppers, such as serrano or jalapeño, coriander, parsley, garlic, lemon, cumin, cardamom, and various other spices. Like most traditional Southeast Asian condiments, skhug recipes vary from region to region and family to family, with some preferring their skhug extra spicy or herbaceous.
What Does Skhug Taste Like?
Skhug has a complex taste that combines earthy, herbal notes with a spicy and slightly pungent kick. When you first take a bite of skhug, the spiciness immediately hits your palate followed by a boost of herbal flavors from the coriander and parsley.
As you continue to chew, you’ll begin to taste the garlic and lemony undertones, which add a bright and zesty kick. The spices used in skhug give it an earthy and slightly sweet flavor that balances out the heat and pungency. Overall, the taste of skhug is bold and flavorful, making it a perfect addition to several dishes.
How Can You Enjoy Skhug?
Skhug is incredibly versatile and can be paired with many dishes. In Middle Eastern countries, it is frequently used as a dip for falafel, kebabs, pita bread, or saj bread. Some even use it as a marinade for fish, chicken, or lamb. Israeli cuisine has embraced skhug on a vast scale, with it topping various dishes, including grilled meats and hummus.
The spicy and garlicky flavor of skhug makes it the perfect addition to vegan and vegetarian dishes. Use it to add some punch to roasted vegetables, rice, or quinoa. It is a perfect and easy way to transform a simple salad into an exotic and flavorful plate.
You can even customize skhug to have more pungent or heat, depending on your preference. Add more chili peppers and use extra-virgin olive oil to tone down the heat, resulting in a more zesty and mild flavor.
Skhug is easy to make and can be made in advance, making it an ideal time-saver for busy cooks. Making skhug adds excitement and zest to any meal.
How to Prepare Skhug?
Skhug is a simple recipe that requires minimal preparation and cooking time. Here is how to make it:
- 1 bunch of fresh coriander
- 1 bunch of fresh parsley
- 1 or 2 fresh green chili peppers
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Juice of 1/2 a lemon
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Rinse the coriander and parsley and remove any excess water by patting them dry.
- Remove the stems and leaves of the chili peppers, and cut them into small pieces.
- Place the chopped coriander, parsley, chili peppers, garlic cloves, ground cumin, and cardamom in a food processor or blender.
- Add the olive oil and lemon juice and process until smooth and fully blended.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
You can adjust the spiciness of the skhug by adding more chili peppers, or tone it down by removing some of the seeds or adding more olive oil.
Health Benefits of Skhug
Skhug provides several health benefits due to its blend of herbs and spices. Cumin, for example, is well-known for its digestive benefits. It helps prevent bloating and aids in digesting certain foods.
Coriander and parsley are rich in antioxidants that help protect the body from damage caused by free radicals. They also help improve digestion and reduce inflammation.
Garlic is known to reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering blood pressure and reducing cholesterol levels. Additionally, chili peppers contain capsaicin, which has been shown to boost metabolism, reduce inflammation, and even alleviate pain.
Skhug has become a popular condiment globally due to its bold and flavorful taste. Its versatility and simple preparation make it a perfect addition to any dish. What distinguishes skhug from other hot sauces is its complex flavor profile and its ability to elevate the palate and enhance various flavors. It is the perfect addition for meat dishes, vegan alternatives, or as a snack with falafel and pita bread. Skhug is a perfect way to add more flavor to any dish while also reaping the benefits of some of its healthy, natural ingredients.
Jenny has always been passionate about cooking, and she uses her platform to share her joy of food with others. Her recipes are easy to follow, and she loves giving tips and tricks to help others create their own unique culinary creations.