For a while… I could never betray my soul mate!
But, Muhammara; a red-hot Syrian concoction which in Arabic means ‘reddened’ is a necessary addition to any worthy mezze spread. If you like Mutable or Baba Ghanouj (Lebanese Eggplant Dip) and Hummus (Lebanese Chickpea Dip) then you will absolutely love this red-dusk temptation. A combination of charred red bell peppers, walnuts and oh…oh…oh pomegranate molasses, makes Muhammara a definite winner.
What’s more? It’s easy and quick to make and great for your next BBQ.
- 1 Loaf per person, preferably Arabic bread not Greek Pita
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Salt to taste
- 70g/ 2½ oz toasted fresh bread crumbs ( 2 slices of toast, I used whole grain vs pita for texture)
- 2 garlic cloves, finely minced (optiona)l
- 120g/4¼ oz walnuts
- 3 bell peppers
- 2 tbsp pomegranate molasses
- Squeeze of lemon juice
- 1 tsp Aleppo pepper or smoked paprika
- salt and pepper to taste
- 3 paper bags or ziplocks
- Pre-heat the oven 350F/180C/4G. Slice the Arabic bread into triangles or wedges (see image below) and drizzle over with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes, or until golden and crispy, turning them over half-way through the cooking time.
- If you have gas burners you can turn them on and char the bell peppers over a medium flame, turning them over every couple of minutes until they are blackened. Alternatively, you can BBQ them or you can cook them in the oven with the Arabic bread for about 20-25 minutes.
- Once the bell peppers have blackened, move them into the bags, seal the bag and cover with a kitchen towel for about 15 minutes to allow them to steam and cook through properly.
- Using the bag, pinch a bit of the skin off the bottom of the pepper and then begin peeling the skin. Most of it is charred so it will feel like you're not peeling much, but the burnt bits will sort-of slice off.
- It's ok to have some blackened bits left and try to refrain from rinsing them off as that’s where the depth of flavour is derived.
- Fillet the edges, leaving the seeds intact and away from the flesh. Discard the seeds and roughly chop the flesh. Don’t over-stress on this step because we’re going to transfer it all to a food processor.