Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Zhug - Yemenite Salsa

Not the best picture but you get the point.

Yemenite cooking reflects its people;  spicy, vibrant, and very opinionated. Zhug is nothing short of these things. I will never forget the first time I ate Zhug or Yemenite salsa. Shortly after I met my husband I was invited to a family lunch where I was served a beautiful bowl of Yemenite chicken soup with a side of red rice. I was offered a pretty green salsa like substance with a name that I still have trouble pronouncing with the right flare. I timidly took a spoonful and added it to my soup like my then boyfriend did. The soup on its own was quite nice but it was divine with the addition of the Zhug. The Zhug gave the soup a spicy garlicky finish. It was the best bowl of chicken soup I have ever eaten. Since then I have eaten Zhug with everything from eggs to burgers. My husband's eyes always light up when he sees there is Zhug about. I used to rely on my mother-in-law to keep us supplied but with her poor health I have begun making it for my family. Someday I hope my daughter will become the family Zhug maker.

Yemenite Zhug

What you need:

4 jalapeno peppers, seeded
4-6 garlic cloves, if you like a lot of garlic add more
1 bunch cilantro
salt to taste

Less spicy

2 jalapeno peppers, seeded
4 garlic cloves
2 bunches cilantro
salt to taste

How to do it:

Toss everything in the food processor and whirl until you get a vibrant green thick salsa like substance. Add salt to taste. Store in a glass jar. It should last several weeks in the fridge.

Zhug is great with eggs, burgers, chicken, roast beef, added into bone broths or soups. You could even serve a little on top of an avocado. Use your imagination! 

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