Muhmmara is a delicious walnut and roasted red pepper dip or spread that’s all sorts of savoury, sweet, slightly smoky with a little tanginess. It’s full of vitamins and nutrients and once you try it, you’ll keep making it and will never get bored of it. The word muhammara is from the Arabic word ahmar, which literally means red. This red dip, originally from the Syrian city of Aleppo, this delicious dip made its way from the heart of the Levant to many parts of the world. I tried mine in a Lebanese city called Baalbeck, 20km off border with Syria. Make yours and enjoy!
Prep time: 40 min
- 3-4 red bell peppers
- 4 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 70g shelled toasted walnuts
- 1-2 garlic cloves
- 1 pomegranate (molasses) – put 3-4 tsp. molasses aside
- 1 tbsp. pepper (ideally aleppo type)
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 1 lemon (juice)
- 1 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)
- 1 teaspoon sumac (optional)
- 5-7 mint leaves (to garnish)
- smoked paprika (to garnish)
- Cut peppers in half, remove seeds and brush the bell peppers with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and grill in a lightly oiled cast-iron skillet or roast the peppers in the 425°F / 220°C heated oven for 30 minutes or until turning slightly dark.
- In the meantime, remove molasses from a pomegranate, set 3-4 tsp. of molasses aside for garnish
- Remove peppers from the oven. You can cover them in a bowl with a lid or a few minutes, as this traps the steam from the roasted peppers, making them easy to peel. When cool enough to handle, peel the peppers.
- In a large blender, combine the roasted red pepper strips with 3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, walnuts, pomegranate molasses, pepper, salt, cumin, lemon juice, garlic and cayenne. Blend into a smooth paste or until you achieve satisfying you consistency.
- Transfer to a serving bowl and refrigerate. When cool, the consistency will be less runny and you’ll be able to garnish it.
- Bring the dip to room temperature before serving. Top the dip with a drizzle of olive oil.
- Serve with pita bread or pita chips.