Muhammara (Arabic for “reddened”) wasn’t one of my original group of salads. I have a customer to thank for this delicious suggestion. Although it’s a classic Middle Eastern combination of ingredients, I hadn’t heard of it until someone asked for it when we catered their wedding. I tried a few different versions and finally settled on this one. Muhammara became a great favorite in my Cafe!
Muhammara is originally from Syria but is enjoyed throughout the Middle East and Turkey.
MUHAMMARA (makes about 2 cups)
- Walnuts, 2 cups
- Pomegranate molasses, 4 TB
- Red Bell Peppers, 4 large, roasted
- Garlic, 2 cloves
- Extra virgin olive oil, 1/2 cup
- Pita crumbs, dried/toasted, 1/2 cup
- Cumin, 2 tsp.
- Crushed red pepper, 2 tsp.
- Tomato paste, 2 TB
- Salt, 1 tsp.
- Roast the peppers under a broiler until the skin is dark brown/blackish all the way around. Set aside to cool.
- Bread crumbs will work for this. I prefer to use my whole wheat Lebanese pita croutons (that I make for Fatoush). Sometimes I just put a whole piece of Lebanese pita into a low oven until it is thoroughly dry, then break off what I need for the Muhammara and save the rest for when I make Fatoush.
- Add all ingredients except the peppers to a food processor.
- When the peppers are sufficiently cooled, peel and remove the stems. The skins should slip off easily if they are well-roasted.
- Grind until smooth, or at least just slightly grainy from the walnuts.
- Garnish with additional pomegranate molasses/syrup and walnuts.
Enjoy as a dip with Pita or veggies. This unusual (although classic in the Middle East) blend of flavors will delight you, your family and your friends.
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