My first experience of eating Muhammara was at “Pera Mediterranean Brasserie”, a highly rated restaurant in New york city. Being a vegetarian, I had few options to choose from at the restaurant. I will confess that I have been hooked to Muhammara since then and every time I visit a Mediterranean restaurant, I look forward to eating Muhammara.
Muhammara is an aromatic dip that stands out for its bright color and unique taste. The spicy-sweet-sour taste is perfectly balanced with the aroma of herbs and spices. The toasted walnuts add a nice crunch to the dip. Muhammara elevates any simple bread or vegetables or meats to a complete meal. This dip is great for parties as it is easy to share. Your vegetarian friends will love this dish and thank you for introducing a new dish.
Muhammara is a perfect mezze (also called meze) which means a selection of small dishes served as appetizers in parts of the Mediterranean and North Africa. Muhammara is best served with pita bread or naans or as a spread for a roasted veggie sandwich.
My recipe for Muhammara is based on traditional Syrian cuisine with some additional ingredients that will elevate the taste and aroma. I have used Fresh red peppers, Roma tomatoes, onions, garlic, walnuts, crushed red pepper (for extra heat), paprika ( for color, earthy taste, and mild heat), [Oregano, Basil and Parsley ( all 3 can be fresh herbs or dried form)], Pomegranate molasses ( I have explained how to make this from scratch in case you don’t find it in your nearby stores),
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Muhammara – Roasted red pepper dip for perfect mezze
A savory and aromatic vegetarian spread/dip from the Mediterranean and North African region. Made with roasted red peppers, spices, walnuts, aromatic herbs, and a topping of pomegranate molasses, this dip has a perfect balance of taste, texture, and freshness. A great dish for parties and large groups, that can be prepared well in advance. All the veggies and nuts make this dish fiber-rich and healthy.
Basic Pomegranate Molasses ( To make from scratch)
Basic Pomegranate Molasses ( If you are not using store bought readymade one)
- In a medium saucepan, combine the Pomegranate Juice, lemon juice, and brown sugar.
- Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to medium to maintain a simmer.
- Cook, stirring occasionally until syrup has reduced by two-thirds, to about 3/4th cup, about 45 minutes.
- Remove from heat and let cool, then transfer to a lidded jar.
- Molasses can be stored in the fridge for up to two months.
Roast the veggies in an oven
- Cut the red bell peppers into pieces so that they can be laid flat on the baking sheet - Remove all seeds
- Cut the tomatoes in half and remove seeds. Lay them flat with the curved surface facing up.
- Cut onion lengthwise into 5-6 parts
- Halve the garlic cloves
- Lay all vegetables flat on the baking sheet so that they don't overlap
- Spread olive oil ( about half of the quantity in the ingredient list) uniformly so that the entire surface area of the veggies is covered
- Bake in the oven at 400F for about 15 minutes (or until the skin of the vegetables start to turn dark)
- Take the baking tray out of the oven and reverse the vegetables
- Keep the tray back in the oven for another 10 minutes
- Remove the tray from the oven and let the vegetables cool
- When the vegetables have cooled, remove the skin from red bell peppers and tomatoes
Grind all ingredients
- Add all the roasted vegetables, spices and herbs (except Cilantro), some olive oil (¼ th quantity in the ingredient list), salt, and half of the pomegranate molasses to the food processor bowl
- Add ¼ quantity of the walnuts.
- Pulse the food processor with the lid closed a few times
- The mixture should be of uniform texture and all the ingredients must blend well.
- BE CAREFUL to not make this into a puree. We want the Muhammara to be coarse and thick.
- Transfer the blended mixture to a serving bowl
- Drizzle some olive oil on the Muhammara
- Sprinkle some chopped walnuts and cilantro
- Using a squeeze bottle or a spoon, slowly drizzle the pomegranate molasses on top
- Enjoy the Muhammara with a side of freshly baked pita bread or naans or vegetables
- You can refrigerate Muhammara in an airtight bottle or container for 2-3 weeks
- The pomegranate molasses can be refrigerated for a couple of months weeks.
- You can use pomegranate molasses for many other types of food preparation as a salad dressing or sandwich spread