What is Sujuk?

Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel

Sujuk, which is also sometimes spelled soudjouk, is a kind of dry salami that is usually credited to Turkish cuisine. Despite its origins in Turkey, it is also eaten in a number of other countries, including those in the Middle East, in Central Asia, and in the Balkans. The key features of sujuk are it's dryness, the fact that it is rather salty, and its high fat content. The spices that are most commonly used to flavor the sausage include red pepper, cumin, and sumac. Just as with many other kinds of cured meats, sujuk may be incorporated into breakfasts or into dishes that are served for mid-day and evening meals.

Beef is a common ingredient in a sujuk.
Beef is a common ingredient in a sujuk.

The type of meat used to fill the sausage is traditionally beef, but this may vary depending on regional preferences and dietary restrictions. In some cases, pork is used to fill sujuk. This only occurs, however, in non-Muslin countries. There are some countries that use horse meat for this kind of sausage. Regardless of the kind of meat that is used, a high portion of fat is usually included in the sausage.

Sujuk is eaten in many Middle Eastern countries.
Sujuk is eaten in many Middle Eastern countries.

Another variation has to do with the sausage's level of spiciness. While some recipes may only call for a moderate amount of red pepper, others may call for a large amount. It is this ingredient that determines the spiciness of the sausage. The amount of other spices that are used will influence the intensity of the flavor.

Sujuk is a dry sausage, so it is also rather hard. For this reason, it is often cooked before it is eaten. There are also a number of cooked dishes to which sujuk is added. Due to the high fat content of the sausage, it can often be fried in a pan without adding any oil or butter. When the sausage is fried on its own in this manner, it is often served for breakfast. It may be accompanied by eggs and black tea, which is often sweetened with a great deal of sugar.

Cooked sujuk may also be added to sandwiches along with tomato and a garlic sauce. This dish is especially common in Lebanon. There are some places where sujuk is served raw. In Bulgaria, the sausage is sliced and served as an appetizer with no further preparation. When served in this manner, the sausage is often accompanied by beverages that have a high alcohol content.

Sujuk are sometimes served with a tomato and onion sauce.
Sujuk are sometimes served with a tomato and onion sauce.
Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel

In addition to her work as a freelance writer for wiseGEEK, Diane is the executive editor of Black Lawrence Press, an independent publishing company based in upstate New York. She has also edited several anthologies, the e-newsletter Sapling, and The Adirondack Review. Diane has a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and an M.A. from Brooklyn College.

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