Yemeni zhug paste is a mix of garlic and peppers plus whatever spices the cook chooses. It is common in Israel, where it has spread beyond the cooking of Yemeni Jews. There are red versions, as this one, and green ones with more cilantro and also parsley instead of sweet peppers.
- 2 small red bell peppers
- 2 hot red chile peppers
- 8 garlic cloves
- 2 tsp coriander seeds
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- seeds from 6 green cardamom pods
- handful of cilantro—leaves and young stems
Directions: remove the seeds from the bell and chile peppers, then cut them into pieces. Chop the garlic coarsely. Blend all the ingredients to a paste in a food processor. Store in a closed jar in the fridge for 1–2 weeks, covered by a layer of oil. Zhug is used as a condiment and a sauce for grilled fish or meat, and is added to soups and stews just before serving. A spoonful or two of zhug can be added to hilbeh.