HAWAIJ (Yemenite spice combination)

3 tbsp. whole black peppercorns
1 tbsp. black caraway seed
1 tsp. whole cumin
1 tsp. cardamon seeds
1 tsp. saffron
2 tsp. turmeric

Pound all ingredients together in a mortar and pestle, or use a coffee grinder or a standard blender.

HELBEH (dipping sauce made from fenugreek seeds and zhug)
makes about 1 c.

2 tbsp. fenugreek seeds, ground
1/4 tsp. zhug (see below)
salt to taste
1 tbsp. lemon juice or to taste
1 grated tomato or 1 tbsp. tomato paste (optional)

1. Cover the fenugreek seeds with water. Let sit overnight or at least 8 hours.
2. Pour off any remaining liquid, leaving a moist paste.
3. Using a wooden spoon, whip in, little by little, up to 1/2 cup of water into the paste. Then combine the paste with the zhug, salt, lemon juice, and, if desired, the tomato.
4. Adjust seasonings to taste. It should be very spicy.

YEMENITE ZHUG (ground spices with herbs) makes about 1/4 c.

1 tsp. black peppercorns
1 tsp. black caraway seed
1 tsp. whole cumin
Seeds from 3-4 cardamom pods
4 small fresh hot peppers2 cloves of garlic, peeled, or to taste
1 cup coriander leaves or chopped watercress

1. Using a mortar and pestle, or a blender, grind all the spices. Add the spices to the coriander or watercress leaves, and blend in a mortar or in a food processor. If using a blender, a little water may have to be added.
2. Store well sealed.

sources The Holiday Kitchen. New York: Schocken Books 1988. Reprinted by permission of the publisher.
author Joan Nathan has written widely on Jewish ethnic and holiday cooking, sharing recipes from around the world in both her books and her special feature articles in The New York Times and Gourmet.