Zhug

No Yemenite Jew will sit down at the table unless a jar of this fiery condiment is present. Veteran Yemenite cooks still prepare zhug using two stones: a large one that serves as a work surface and a smaller one for crushing the ingredients. A mortar and pestle (stone, not copper) are the best alternative but a food processor can also be used. 

Ingredients (makes 1 cup)
  • The Dip:

  • Cloves from 2 heads of garlic, peeled

  • 1/2 cup hot red peppers

  • 2 cups fresh coriander

  • 1 tablespoon salt

  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
    The Spice Mix:

  • 10 cardamom seeds

  • 10 cloves garlic

  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns

  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds

Crush the garlic, peppers and coriander to a nearly smooth paste.

 

Lightly roast the spices in a dry skillet. When they cool down grind them in a spice (or coffee) grinder or pulse in a food processor. 

 

Mix the dip and the spices and season with salt. Transfer to a jar and pour the lemon juice on top to preserve the green color. Store in the refrigerator.