This recipe is for a delicious and flavourful dip that is a very welcome addition to the autumnal menu, and something of a panacea to the ailments. While we are enjoying soups and stews and the produce of this bountiful season, muhammara is a refreshing reminder that although the temperature is dropping and the days are getting shorter and the cold and the dark are surely on their way, the winter will not last forever.
Muhammara is a dish that I enjoyed while growing up in Damascus. It is originally from Aleppo, but probably has distant cousins in Turkey, all of variable delights. This here is my version of the dish. It is conventionally had as part of a traditional Syrian muqabbilat (mezze spread) and I would sincerely recommend you have the same if you ever get the opportunity. It is what is usually had on a night out with a big group of friends and family, enough food to feed a village, and that's only the starters. Trust me, try it at a good Syrian or Lebanese restaurant, and you'll full, full tum will groan and thank me. Now, I would recommend this as a sandwich spread on its own and it will certainly liven up most sandwiches, but, in addition to the Middle Eastern flavours, I find this also works well with a variety of ingredients and staples of Mediterranean cuisine. We have served it within a variety of combinations, such as with Baba Ganoush, Baked Falafel, and Artichoke Truffle Pate.
As with many of the recipes we use, we try to make them as child friendly as possible. This recipe is light on salt and does not contain any overwhelming flavours, and in my view it honestly doesn't need any jazzing up, but for variations and when the children aren't around we will use a combination of the optional ingredients listed below.
- 2 X red bell peppers
- 3 - 4 tbsp bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup walnut pieces
- 1 tbsp olive oil (plus more for serving)
- 1 tbsp lemon juice (1/2 lemon)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
- 1 tsp crushed chilli peppers
- Preheat oven to 200C
- Place whole red peppers onto a roasting tray and roast for 30 minutes
- Allow peppers to cool completely before handling
- Place walnuts into a food processor fitted with the S blade and process into a coarse crumb and place into a mixing bowl
- Rub the skin off of the pepper, de-seed and place in the food processor with the lemon juice, salt and olive oil and blend into a pulpy paste then add to the walnuts
- Add the bread crumbs and mix well to combine. Let the mixture sit for 20 minutes prior to serving. Can be stored in the fridge for up to 4 days (but why?)
- Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and impress your peeps!