Muhammara, or roasted red pepper and walnut dip (Syria)

Syria is an Arabic country in the Mediterranean part of Middle East. Its capital city Damascus is considered one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. Its largest city, however, is Aleppo, which also contains a old town that has been designated as a UNESCO world heritage site. Aleppo is also one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world. The area has a long and very colorful history, which is difficult to summarize in a few sentences.

Syrians love meze and even their breakfast often consists of a selection of small dishes, which may consist of e.g. eggplant, tomatoes, potatoes, chickpeas, bulgur wheat, pita bread, tahini (sesam paste), meat and lentils, often flavoured with parsley or za’atar. Another common spice mixture is baharat. Baklava and other sweet pastries often containing nuts and dried fruit are also popular.

I think pretty much any vegetarian or foodie can agree that Middle Eastern and Mediterranean dips are the best. Ok, so guacamole and salsa aren’t from there, but tzatziki, baba ghanoush, hummus etc are. At least here in Europe muhammara is not as well known as those, but I think it deserves to be. I find it wonderful with pita chips, but IMO it doesn’t work nearly as well as a dip for veggies, for some reason. You could use it as a sauce, too.

I used the muhammara recipe from Colleen Patrick-Goudeau’s The Vegan Table, a fancy coffeetable vegan cookbook. It has some very nice recipes, like the awesome caramelized onion pie which was a hit in our wedding (we would have served the purple potatoes with cashew cream in our wedding, as well, but I wasn’t able to get purple potatoes in August). Quite a bit of international flair, too.

I modified the recipe to replace agave nectar with pomegranate molasses, a traditional part of most muhammara recipes. It can be found in Middle Eastern groceries. It is a part of numerous Middle Eastern dishes and is wonderful in baking and drinks, so I recommend getting it. I also find that instead of breadcrumbs you can just blend in some bread – it will still make a sturdy, spreadable dip.

Muhammara

Muhammara

2-3 roasted red bell peppers (fresh or from a jar)
2/3 cup/75 grams bread crumbs (or a slice of bread)
1 cup/120 grams walnuts, raw or toasted
4 garlic cloves
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tsp pomegranate molasses
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (or more)

Blend all the ingredients together with a blender or food processor, until smooth. Yields about one cup. Serve as a dip or spread.

2 Responses to “Muhammara, or roasted red pepper and walnut dip (Syria)”

  1. 1

    That looks delicious! And I absolutely love your blog header :)

  2. 2

    Thanks, I’m very fond of it myself. :->


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