While rooting around Holy Land Market the other day, I came across one of my favorite condiments:s’chüg. It’s a Yemenite/Israeli hot sauce, a rough mash of red chiles, sweet red peppers, a big dose of garlic and cilantro. It’s sharply hot but not painful, with a rounded sweetness from the sweet peppers. It’s really delicious, so much so that I like to eat little spoonfuls right out of the jar. There’s also a green version, made from green chiles and peppers.
Because it’s so flavorful, and has a pleasant, rough texture with lots of chile seeds, you can use it to add zip and color to almost anything. I like it stirred into hummus, added to soups (especially lamb-and/or chickpea-stews), spooned on top of steak, or used as a sandwich spread. Throughout much of the Middle East it’s a popular condiment on falafel and shawarma sandwiches.
You can get s’chüg at Holy Land Market (122 St. Mark’s Place) or Fairway.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on January 14, 2009