Muhammara has long been on my list of dishes to make, and I’m rather mad at myself that I haven’t made it sooner. The base is roasted red peppers and walnuts. (Bread crumbs are also usually in there, but I left them out.) It also includes one of my favorite exotic ingredients: pomegranate molasses. Have you tried it before? It’s sweet and tangy. The dip originated in Aleppo, Syria, a name that may sound familiar if you have heard of Aleppo peppers. If you can find Aleppo pepper flakes, use them in place of the crushed red pepper.
- 3 medium to large red bell peppers, de-stemmed, seeded, and cut in half
- 2/3 cup walnuts
- 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- pinch of sea salt
- 5-6 fresh mint leaves, thinly sliced (for garnish)
- Set the oven broiler to high. Place the bell pepper halves on a baking sheet, cut side down, and set under the broiler. Broil until skin is blackened and blistered, 20-30 minutes. Remove from the oven and place in covered bowl or a paper bag to steam.
- Meanwhile, place the walnuts in a small skillet over medium-heat and toast until lightly browned and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Peel the blackened skins off of the peppers and discard. Place all ingredients in a food processor, and process until smooth. Garnish and serve.
(Makes 1 1/2 – 2 cups)
You can use muhammara as a dip or sauce. Toasted pita points would be a more traditional accompaniment, but we enjoyed it with chopped veggies.
Look for pomegranate molasses in Middle Eastern grocery stores. Of course, it’s also available online. If you can’t find the molasses, but you can find pomegranate juice, you can cook that down to a thick syrup.
You can also roast peppers over flames of a gas stove or a grill. Sometimes it helps to use a towel to rub the blackened skins off.