dropping a medicinal cayenne-spiked serum into the schug

I spent all morning today in one of my favorite places in the shuk, a small, ten-year-old shop filled with customers searching to heal ailments such as hypertension, migraines, sore throats and urinary problems. Once I heard someone ask how to heal her joint pain. His prescription: don’t be so judgmental, and then he also squirted two droplets of his famous ginger-camphor-mint-etrog serum into her palm and had her rub her aches with it. When you walk into his shop with a head cold though, he’ll quickly grab your finger, squirt some onto the tip, and tell you to stick it up your nose and inhale deeply. It usually makes me cry, but man, it seriously works. He calls himself the “Etrog Medicine Man” because etrog is a main ingredient in many of his recipes, and he also makes soaps, hand creams and sprays that offer dozens of medicinal etrog benefits. Etrog is a citrus fruit not quite orange and not quite lemon (though much closer to lemon). It can be as large as 6 inches in length, it has a bumpy exterior and is mainly used on the Jewish holiday Sukkot.

Uzi's shop from the outside. Need directions there in Jerusalem? From the Agripas side, enter the outdoor part of the shuk. Take your first right through the stall and walk until the end. There he is!

From the wisdom of his grandfather, passed onto his father, passed down to him at 11 years old, Uzi Ellie’s medicinal drinks ease ailments as benign as the onset of a cold to something more sever, such as ulcers and diseases. Just this morning he encouraged me to gargle with a gingko biloba-cardamon-ginseng-honey-qat mixture and to drink more water to manage my migraines. It burned and tasted awful until the qat set in and my mouth began to tingle. I felt pretty good.

On this particular morning, however, Uzi Ellie taught me how to make Yemenite Schug (a spicy dip that goes on meat, hummus or in soup and pronounced: Skh-ooo-g) and a Passionfruit, Goat’s Yogurt drink. He blessed me, showed me how he blesses the food that he shares with his customers, let me join into the food-making process, taught me the medicinal value of some of his most popular items, got me a little high from the migraine/qat serum, had my soul assessed (I’m doing great, in case you’re wondering), and, most importantly, gave me an experience I will never forget. If you are ever in Jerusalem, I really encourage you to stop by his shop. He is well known in the Machane Yehuda Market (the “shuk”), and his shop really does boast dozens of health benefits, interesting flavors, and an unforgettable experience for anyone.

Making the schug together:

This plant is a garlic & green onion fusion. It doesn't grow in Jerusalem and Uzi Ellie gets it from a farm outside the city. We used about 30 bunches.

About 25 bunches of fresh cilantro

1 kilo of spicy green peppers and 1/2 kilo of garlic

All the garlic (including skin) goes into a blender with 3 C water

Garlic and water mixture are placed into a sieve, the thick chunks discarded

green onion/garlic plant and cilantro go into the blender with the strained garlic juice, then they are strained in the sieve with the garlic (they blend together here) and the juice retained

whisk the blended greens around till they form a thicker consistency. the mixture (which is now the greens with the garlic) goes back into the blender and kosher salt, a drizzle of olive oil, cloves and cardamon pods are added and blended.

To make schug at home, for under a million people, Uzi Ellie also gave me this recipe:

2 bunches of cilantro

2 hot green peppers

1/2 head of garlic

1/2 tsp kosher salt

drizzle of olive oil

1 bunch of green onion

11 cloves

5 cardamon pods

Put everything into a blender with 1/2 cup of water.

Passionfruit, Goat’s Milk Drink

giving the drink a blessing so that it may heal his customers

he takes fresh passionfruit and freezes it. then he places it in a machine that separates the seeds from the juice. then he puts the juice into a blender.

here comes the milk....all dressed in white...and some sugar, too

then everything is blended with the world's largest immersion blender

He didn’t give me any special tips on this, but to make a couple of drinks’ worth, I would guess you would need something like:

10 oz goat’s milk (you could use your favorite yogurt instead)

10-13 passionfruit with the insides scooped out

2-3 tblsp sugar

that's Uzi on the left

his various serums, treatments and sauces

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7 thoughts on “A Morning in “The Etrog Medicine Man’s Kitchen”

  1. Amalia says:

    unbelievable!! so cool that you got to experience that!!

  2. anna Goren says:

    Lauren Im having Jerusalem pangs reading this. You’re amazing!

  3. Josh says:

    Can’t believe I am not at Uzi’s everyday. You’ve definitely inspired me to make it this week!

    1. I’m so glad! Let him know you saw the post! He’ll be so pumped!

  4. Annie says:

    Behind the scenes with the medicine man… very cool. I can just feel my palm in his, his other hand pushing it down to get it cupped just right so that he can spray, spray, spray his special potion into my hand and force it up my nose…. The stuff works! Must be the bracha.

  5. Rachel Johnson says:

    I saw that he makes a refreshing spray that is great for the skin with the etrog. Would he mind sharing that recipe? Thank you. 🙂

    1. Hi Rachel, I only met with him that day and the recipes he shared are all that I received. And sadly, I no longer live in Jerusalem, otherwise, I’d happily ask him for you. Good luck!

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