Muhammara

This wonderful blend of walnuts, red bell peppers, pomegranate molasses and bread is a famous dip originating from Aleppo in Syria. Today, it is popular throughout the middle-east and in fact, it is enjoying a bit of fame in the food blogger sphere. I believe the best way to enjoy this dip is simply slathered on some fresh bread – the sweet-sour notes combined with the bite from the ground pepper is simply ethereal!  Yield: makes about one-half liter.

  • 2 red bell peppers, roasted, peeled, and cut into strips
  • 125 grams walnuts, toasted
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • about ¾-cup fresh bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1,5 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
  • 1 teaspoon coarsely ground red aleppo pepper (paprika as substitute)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon agave syrup
  • Preheat the oven to 220° C. Clean your bell peppers and place them on a parchment paper (baking paper) lined baking sheet then directly into the preheated oven. Turn the peppers often to evenly blacken the skins. Once the peppers are black, remove them and place in a bowl covered with plastic wrap. Allow them to steam for 2 minutes, then peel off the skin. Remove all the seeds and slice the peppers into rough pieces.
  • Place the peppers, walnuts, tomato paste, fresh bread crumbs, lemon juice, pomegranate molasses, spices and agave syrup in a food processor.
  • Process until creamy.
  • With the machine running, add the olive oil in a thin stream and continue to process. If the paste is too thick, thin with 1-2 tablespoons. water.
  • Refrigerate overnight to allow the flavors to mature (although I always cheat and sneak in a few bites). The dip will keep refrigerated for up to 10 days.  When ready to serve, transfer the dip to a serving dish and drizzle with olive oil.

Jack’s Fresh Tip

You can substitute pre-roasted red peppers for the fresh ones. Look in Turkish stores for these and make sure the ingredient list only has peppers and perhaps a bit of vinegar. Wash them well and proceed with the recipe on step number 2. You can roast your walnuts by placing them on a clean pan and putting them into a cold oven. Turn the temperature to 150° C and set your timer for 28 minutes. Remove at once and allow the walnuts to cool for ten minutes. I make fresh bread crumbs by slicing some day-old bread and removing the crusts. I chuck the bread into my vitamix (a blender or food processor will also work) and process the bread until crumbs have formed. Pomegranate molasses is also called syrup. I adore this mixture and use it for many different recipes when a tartness is required. Remember…keep tasting this dip as you process it and adjust the ingredients as necessary. I shoot for a rich, relatively thick dip with a noticeable sharp bite and sweet-sour notes.

Techniques used

This is a Sample Recipe

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