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Hawaj: The Curry of Yemen

In a previous article we featured one of our top selling signature spices called Hawaj for Coffee, which is a mixture made up of cloves, cinnamon, ginger and cardamom. Our other top seller is Hawaj for Soup a favorite spice blend used in many traditional dishes and is considered to be the curry of Yemen.

As in all popular cuisine, the spices used in preparing a particular dish become synonymous to that culture just as India is equated with curry, Hawaj spice is to Yemen. Thank goodness these great recipes are passed on to the next generations of families that carry on with the traditional dishes that are associated with that culture.

At Whole Spice, our Hawaj for Soup combines turmeric, black pepper, onion, cumin, cardamom and cloves. In Yemen, the Hawaj spice is commonly used to flavor chicken soup and is also used to zest up other meat, fish and vegetable dishes. In fact Hawaj spice can be used in any recipe that calls for a mild curry powder. Another important fact Id like to mention is that, Yemeni meals are easy to make, are low in saturated fat, and use mainly natural ingredients making the meals healthy and tasty.

Shuli grew up with having his moms famous Yemenite chicken soup at least a few times a week. Her recipe is a simple one: clear broth made of chicken thighs and seasoned with Hawaj for Soup mix served with Zhug paste and Hilbe paste as condiments both are added to the soup after it is cooked.

While the soup was simmering, Shuli's mother and the other women in the village would get together to bake the Yemeni flat bread in an outdoor clay oven. The table setting was modest and very welcoming a bowl of Hawaj Chicken soup, zhug & hilbe condiments, flat bread and fresh sliced vegetables. What a great combination you cant go wrong!

Those great memories of Shuli's moms home-cooking are still being upheld in our household. Just a slight difference in recipes, though, as Shuli (being a vegetarian), substitutes the chicken thighs with brown lentils (click link for recipe below). But the flavors of the Hawaj spice, the zhug and hilbe will always be staples in our household.

For the hilbe and zhug condiment recipes that go hand-in-hand with almost all of the traditional dishes, simply follow the directions when you click the links below. You can also order zhug blend online by clicking on the link.

Try our different recipes here:

Hilbe sauce

Zhug paste

Yemenite Lentil Soup

Shuli's Whole-wheat Flatbread


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