S’hug is to a Yemenite like ketchup is to an American. Green s’hug is made from fresh green hot peppers in season, while the red s’hug is typically made off-season using dried red peppers. Recipes vary slightly by region, but my favorite one is made with cilantro and a mixture of spices, including cumin, cloves and coriander. Serve it spread on sandwiches or meat or mixed into soups and sauces. Legend has it that it is good for your sinuses and metabolism, and research seems to support this claim. You can find s’hug in many kosher markets in the US. For me, though, there is nothing like the aroma of fresh s’hug; it takes me back home every time.
- 1 cup hot chili peppers, dry or fresh, stems removed
- 1 bunch cilantro, washed and thick stems removed
- 1 head garlic, peeled
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon cloves
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- 2 cardamom pods
- 1/4 - 1/2 cup water
- A word of caution before you begin: keep your hands away from your eyes and nose while preparing this—it will burn! If you use dry red chilies, remove the stems but not the seeds, put in a bowl and cover with cold water to reconstitute. This can be done several hours ahead or the night before. Drain the water carefully so as not to splash it into eyes. Put pepper, peeled garlic and spices in food process or blender. Chop cilantro and add to other ingredients. Process the ingredients, add 2 tablespoons of water and continue to process. Add more water by the tablespoon until you have a wet but not runny sauce. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. To store, scoop some into a small jar and store in the refrigerator and freeze the rest. You may drizzle in a bit of olive or vegetable oil to increase the shelf life.