Tuesday, 17 August 2010
Traditionally muhammara is a Syrian spread made from sun-dried Aleppo peppers, ground walnuts and pomegranate molasses, as well as a variety of spices.
In Australia we can’t buy the sun-dried peppers so I used char-grilled peppers instead. Also, I believe the traditional recipe uses bulgur wheat, rather than the breadcrumbs I have used.
Muhammara is great as a dip or spread on bread and toast, like a Middle Eastern crostino or bruschetta.
Called Acuka in western Turkey, muhammara can also be served as a sauce for meat and fish.
Muhammara (Syrian Walnut & Red Pepper Dip)
Anna’s version of various internet recipes. Makes 2 cups.
2 small red capsicums (peppers)
20g pine nuts
20g pumpkin seeds
1 small onion, chopped finely
1/3 cup olive oil
¼ cup breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon pomegranate molasses
1 teaspoon sumac
1 teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon Aleppo pepper
1. Using tongs, hold capsicum over gas flame until the skins are blackened. Quickly place in a plastic bag and seal. The steam will help loosen the skin.
2. When they’ve cooled, peel off blacken skin then slice and remove seeds. Cut into strips.
3. Dry roast nuts and pumpkin seeds in a frying pan until toasted and slightly golden.
4. Pulse nuts in a food processor with breadcrumbs until finely chopped.
5. Heat some of the olive oil in a frying pan, then sauté onion and cumin seeds until onion is softened.
6. Add onion to food processor with capsicum, sumac, Aleppo pepper, lemon juice, pomegranate molasses and sea salt. Blend until smooth.
7. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the remaining olive oil until the dip loosens then thickens.
8. Serve with Lebanese or pita bread, garnished with pomegranate seeds.
Note: to save time you could purchase char-grilled capsicums (peppers). Muhammara keeps in a sealed container in the fridge for around 4 days.
This is my contribution to Weekend Herb Blogging, this week hosted by Marija from Palachinka, a beautiful Serbian blog.
I chose capsicums/peppers for my WHB ingredient because I have hated them as long as I can remember. I have continually tasted them throughout the years (probably once monthly) just hoping that suddenly I will have changed my mind.
But alas - despite their pretty shiny skins and regardless of their fresh, crispy rawness or sweet, soft char-grilled form - I just didn't like them.
Until this June.
Something miraculous happened and suddenly I can eat them!
Perhaps it was my recent overdose on pimientos de gernika and pimientos de padron when there were nought other vegetables to be found in Spanish restaurants?
Whatever it was, capsicum is starting to taste good.
And that's worth celebrating.