Zhug (Hebrew: סְחוּג, romanized: s'ḥug), sahawiq (Yemeni Arabic: سَحاوِق) or bisbas (Somali: bisbaas) is a hot sauce originating in Yemeni cuisine. In other countries of the Arabian Peninsula it is also called ma'booj (Arabic: معبوج).[1]

Green zhug
Alternative namesHarif, ma'booj, sahawiq, sahowqa, skhug
Place of originYemen
Main ingredientsHot peppers, garlic, coriander
VariationsRed skhug, green skhug, brown skhug


The word sahawiq comes from the Arabic root (s-ḥ-q) which means to pestle or to crush.


Varieties in Yemen include sahawiq akhdar (green sahawiq), sahawiq ahmar (red sahawiq), and sahawiq bel-jiben (sahawiq with cheese, usually Yemeni cheese).[2] Sahawiq is one of the main ingredients of saltah.[3] Wazif (traditional Yemeni dried baby sardines) is sometimes added to the sahawiq's ingredients and it is known as sahawiq wazif (Arabic: سحاوق وزف).[4]

In Israel, one can find skhug adom ("red zhug"), skhug yarok ("green zhug") and skhug khum ("brown zhug"), which has added tomatoes. Red zhug is made with red peppers while green zhug is made with green peppers, or jalapeños.[5] Zhug may be referred to by the generic term harif (Hebrew: חריף; lit. "hot/spicy"). Also known as zhoug,[6][7][8] it is a popular condiment at Israeli falafel and shawarma stands, and served with hummus.[9]


Zhug is made from fresh red or green hot peppers (like jalapeño[10]) seasoned with coriander, garlic, salt, black cumin (optional) and parsley, and then mixed with olive oil.[11][12][13] Some also add lemon juice,[10] caraway seed, cardamom, and black pepper.

Traditional Yemeni cooks prepare sahawiq using two stones: a large stone called marha' (مرهى) used as a work surface and a smaller one called wdi (ودي) for crushing the ingredients. Alternative options are a mortar and pestle or a food processor.[14] Yemenis sometimes add Pulicaria jaubertii.[15]

See also


  1. الكندري, وفاء. "المعبوج الاخضر". fatafeat.
  2. Various Yemeni Sahawiq varieties
  3. Fury, Dalton (13 May 2014). Full Assault Mode: A Delta Force Novel. St. Martin's Publishing Group. p. 176. ISBN 978-1-4668-3585-6.
  4. "طريقة عمل سحاوق الوزف". اكلات يمنية (in Arabic). 7 April 2018. Retrieved 31 December 2019.
  5. "How to make schug, a Mediterranean hot sauce". From the Grapevine. Retrieved 21 October 2020.
  6. Ferguson, Gillian (4 October 2017). "What's up with all the zhoug at restaurants around town". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
  7. "Where to get Auckland's best globally-influenced breakfasts". New Zealand Herald. 21 October 2017. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
  8. Ottolenghi, Yotam; Tamimi, Sami (2012). Jerusalem: A Cookbook. Potter/TenSpeed/Harmony. p. 301. ISBN 9781607743958.
  9. Red Skhug: A recipe and a story
  10. "Spicy Skhug Sauce (Zhug, Shug or Zhoug)". 16 September 2022. Retrieved 24 January 2023.
  11. Goldstein, Nili (6 April 2006). "PASSOVER: Yemenite Flavor at the Seder". Tribe Media. Jewish Journal. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
  12. Kremezi, Aglaia (21 June 2010). "Recipe: Zhug (Yemeni Hot Sauce)". The Atlantic. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
  13. Grayson, Michele. "Spicy Starters: Balanced Heat in Appetizers Rouses Palates, Titillates Taste Buds and Enhances the Dining Experience, especially when Paired with the Right Beverages." Jobson's Cheers, vol. 18, no. 4, 2007, pp. 48.
  14. "Janna Gur brings you the taste of Israel: Zhug". Archived from the original on 16 February 2015. Retrieved 19 March 2012.
  15. ""السحاوق" . . طبق يمني يشتهيه الفقراء والأغنياء - البيان". www.albayan.ae (in Arabic). Retrieved 1 March 2020.
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