Muhammara is a classic Levantine dip, made with walnuts, bell peppers, and spices. This recipe originating of the Syrian city of Aleppo, is incredibly popular in the Middle East, healthy and traditionally vegan. I love it paired with grilled meats, or just spread on toasted bread slices!
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ORIGIN OF MUHAMMARA
The Muhammara is a dip hailing from Syria, and more precisely from the city of Aleppo. The main ingredients of this recipe are bell pepper and walnuts, enriched with spices and pomegranate molasses. This mixture of spicy and sweet notes create a delicious and complex bouquet of flavors and tastes.
As I said, Muhammara is originating of the city of Aleppo but has been quickly spread in several regions of the Middle East, and Turkey. This because, in addition to being so delicious, it's also healthy and an excellent source of energy and vitamins.
MUHAMMARA: TIPS AND SUGGESTIONS
PEPPERS - In origin, the pepper used to prepare Muhammara were the characteristic fresh Aleppo Peppers. Nowadays it's common to use red bell peppers in addiction with red hot chili peppers powder. I love to roast the peppers by myself. Alternatively, use canned roasted bell peppers.
RAW OR COOKED? - The most popular Muhammara version is made with roasted and peeled peppers. Another variation is with raw peppers, blended and combined with the other ingredients.
POMEGRANATE - The sweet and sour taste of Pomegranate molasses equilibrate the flavors of spices and peppers.
PREPARING IN ADVANCE - prepared in advance, Muhammara is even better! It gives the time to mix up the different flavors and create a bold taste and a nice texture.
SERVING AND PAIRING - Muhammara is typically served at room temperature or slightly cold. The most simple way to eat this dip is spread on toasted bread slices. I love to serve Muhammara along with grilled or roasted meats: it's a game changer of my BBQ parties!
- 4 red bell peppers (alternatively, 11 oz bell peppers roasted fillets)
- 1 tsp red hot chili pepper powder
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- ½ coarse breadcrumbs (alternatively, Panko)
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp pomegranate molasses (alternatively, pomegranate juice)
- 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 cup walnuts
- to taste table salt
- ROASTING BELL PEPPERS
I prefer to roast my bell peppers at home. Alternatively, you can opt for canned roasted bell pepper fillets.
To roast the bell peppers, preheat the oven on 450° F (230° C). Then, rinse and dry the peppers, and place them over a baking tray lined with parchment paper. At this point, bake the peppers until well browned, flipping them every 15 minutes.
Once ready, pour the peppers immediately into a freezer bag and seal. Let the peppers rest 30 minutes, then peel and reduce them into fillets discarding the seeds and the stems.
- BREAD AND WALNUTS
Concerning the bread, you have two options. The first: toast some bread slices and blend them with a food processor until obtaining coarse breadcrumbs. Second option: use Panko.
At this point, blend the walnuts until obtaining the same size of breadcrumbs, then mix with the bread.
- MIXING MUHAMMARA
Now, blend the bell pepper fillets along with the other ingredients except walnuts and bread. Finally, pour the bell pepper mixture into a bowl, and combine with the walnuts and breadcrumbs mixture. Stir with a spatula until consistent.
- STORING AND SERVING
Once ready, I strongly recommend you to store the Muhammara covered into the fridge for at least 4 hours (best if one day) before serving.
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