How to make fermented Skhug.

by | Feb 22, 2018 | Fermentation, Recipes |

Skhug is a hot sauce that has its roots in Yemen – it has the consistency of pesto but a fiery and intoxicating flavour and heat to give even kimchi a run for its money. The flavour profile of Skhug is deep, green, hot and robust – it is the perfect condiment to add complexity to a main dish or sandwich and it is usually found as a companion to falafel in the middle east. I discovered Skhug whilst travelling and thought that a fermented version would rock! The coriander and parsley, which are some of the main ingredients, have a high chlorophyll content and therefore don’t ferment very well – turning into a kind of black mush. So to create a fermented version of Skhug, we need to ferment the other components first and then blend in with the fresh herbs when ready to serve and store.




  • 3 bunches of fresh coriander, washed and left to drain.
  • 2 bulbs of garlic.
  • 3 large hot green peppers, stems removed
  • Handful of small hot red peppers, stems removed
  • 2 limes
  • 1 tsp (5 g) cardamom, ground
  • 1 tsp (5g) cumin, ground
  • 1 tsp (6g) salt
  • 1 tsp (6g)  pepper, ground
  • Between ½  cup and ¼ of olive oil.




Step 1 – The fermented bit:


  1. De-stem and slice the hot green peppers and set aside.
  2. De-stem the small hot red peppers and set aside.
  3. Peel and prepare the garlic and set the cloves aside.
  4. Add 50g of salt to a litre of filtered water.
  5. Take a mason / kilner jar or other appropriate vessel for fermentation and add in the peppers, chilli and garlic.
  6. Pour over the salt brine and use a weight of some description – either cabbage leaves followed by a boiled stone / or a sandwich bag filled with water – to keep the vegetables submerged in the brine.
  7. Leave at an ambient temperature for between 5 – 7 days.
  8. Voila! A fermented fiery concoction ready to be blended with your other ingredients!


Step 2 – Bringing the Skhug together:


  1. Use a food processor or blender to shred the coriander and parsley.
  2. Add the juice of 2 limes, the olive oil, and pulse into a green paste.
  3. Add the fermented garlic and pulse until incorporated well.
  4. Add the fermented hot green pepper and red chilli and pulse – you know when you have arrived at the right pallette when dark green is the more prominent colour,, interspersed with the small red flecks of red chilli.
  5. Add the remaining spices of cumin, cardamom, pepper and salt.
  6. Give it a few final pulses and serve!
  7. You could leave the mixture out on the counter for a few hours for the flavours to merge until refrigerating for later use.