keito potato

March 23, 2009, 8:03 pm
Filed under: recipes, starters | Tags: , , , ,

Muhammara (pronounced with emphasis on the 2nd syllable) is a complex Syrian dip that marries roasted red peppers with walnuts.  The richness of the nuts and roasted peppers is contrasted by the acidity of concentrated pomegranate juice.  The flavor combination is surprising, but addictive.


I have always used Paula Wolfert’s recipe from The Cooking of the Eastern Mediterranean as a starting point, but have altered it in recent years.  In contrast to Paula, I toast my walnuts in the oven, and use whole wheat breadcrumbs instead of cracker crumbs.  These little changes add a bit more depth to the spread.

Ideally, one should use pomegranate molasses, a sticky and sour concentration of pomegranate juice.  Get familiar with your local Arab grocery.  You will likely find it there in a slender bottle.  Sometimes it is labeled as “pomegranate concentrated juice,” like the bottle currently in my pantry.  If you don’t have an Arab grocery in your area, you can substitute regular pomegranate juice or lemon juice.


Muhammara Recipe

4 red bell peppers

1-2 small hot chilis

1  1/2 cups walnuts

1/2 cup whole wheat bread crumbs

1-2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, or more to taste

2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon sugar

2 tablespoons olive oil

Roast the red bell peppers and little chilis over a gas burner or under the oven broiler, turning frequently until blackened and blistered, about 12 minutes.  Place in a covered bowl or paper bag to steam 10 minutes.  This will loosen the skin.  Rub off the skins and slit the peppers to remove the membranes and seeds.  Spread on a paper towel 10 minutes to drain.

Meanwhile toast the walnuts in the oven until brown and fragrant.

In a food processor, combine all ingredients, with the bell peppers and walnuts last in order.  You can make your paste smooth like hoummus, or chunky with the walnuts rough like gravel.  Adjust the salt and lemon juice to taste.

Paula Wolfert suggests making Muhammara a day in advance to allow the flavors to marry.  This is ideal, but if you are pressed for time, it is also fantastic warm and fresh.  Serve Muhammara with belgian endive, flatbread such as pita or lavosh, or crackers. Leftovers work as a sandwich spread.

5 Comments so far
Leave a comment

I love your header and your pictures. I can’t wait to read more.

Comment by Jenny

Thanks! The olives in the header are from the olive tree in my front yard.

Comment by Kate Wentland

That looks so spectacular. I keep meaning to make it. I have many of the ingredients, including the pom molasses, but I need to stock up on walnuts and red peppers. Maybe later this summer I’ll use red peppers from my garden?

Comment by Christina

[…] Aleppo, the birthplace of muhammara. You might remember that my first recipe on keitopotato was for muhammara. I’m crazy about the pepper-walnut-pomegranate mash, and I got a few friends there addicted […]

Pingback by Memorable meals in Lebanon and Syria « keito potato

[…] Muhammara Hummus December 16, 2009, 11:04 am Filed under: recipes Honey, are you still buying hummus from a plastic carton? Can I help you break that habit? Honestly, hummus is one of the easiest things to make from scratch, and is worlds away from that stuff in the refrigerator case. Most packaged/processed hummus cuts corners by omitting the tahini, the crucial ingredient that makes hummus what it is. Haram! Without tahini, those dreary tubs are merely bean dip. If you’re ready to try, I can hold your hand through the process. […]

Pingback by Hummus « keito potato

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