Hummus and Baba Ganoush are the most commonly prepared and relished Middle Eastern dips. Muhammara though lesser known is a classic dip found in Levantine and Turkish cuisines. It is infact an ancient traditional dish which is being revived and is gaining popularity across the world.Muhammara in Arabic means ‘reddened’. This rust-red dip with its tangy,nutty, a little sweet and a little hot flavors can be enjoyed by vegetarians as well as the meat eaters. Dip your veggies, pita chips, crackers, breads, grilled meats in this delicious, healthy and no guilt dish or simply add it to your meze platter and wow your family and friends. You can use it as a spread on your bread as well.
Middle Eastern cuisine is mostly healthy and Muhammara is no exception. It is a blend of beautiful ingredients and flavours which makes it deliciously enticing. Walnuts, red bell peppers, pomegranate molasses, olive oil, bread crumbs and lemon juice make their way into this amazing combination.If we want to match the Syrian traditional way of preparing Muhammara, the ingredients should be crushed and blended in a mortar with a pestle,which gives a lovely texture to the dish.But if you are short of time or patience, you can blend it in a food processor as well. The taste is pretty much the same but you end up losing that alluring texture.It can be eaten immediately or stored in the fridge. The flavour enhances after a day in the fridge.
- 2 red bell peppers
- 3/4 cup toasted walnuts
- 3 slices whole wheat bread
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tbsp. red chilli flakes (Alepo peppers if possible)
- 1 tbsp. pomegranate molasses
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 ½ tsp. cumin seed powder
- salt to taste
- ¼ cup olive oil for blending
For drizzling on top
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 pinch sumac (optional)
- 1 tsp. sesame seeds
- 1 tbsp. chopped walnuts
- Heat the oven to 200º C. Put the peppers on a tray and roast for 30-35 minutes, turning once midway, till the skin is blackened. Immediately transfer them to a bowl and tightly seal with plastic wrap. In about 15 minutes,the skin of the peppers wuld have loosened up.Peel and discard the skin and seeds. Mash the flesh with a fork and set aside.
- Remove the crusts of the bread and toast them in a bread toaster. Once cooled, make bread crumbs from them either using a rolling pin or in a food processor.
- Put the mashed peppers,bread crumbs and all the ingredients except the olive oil in a mortar and crush with a pestle. You can also pulse them in a food processor till coarsely blended.
- Stream in ¼ cup of olive oil all through the blending process.
- Transfer the blend into a serving bowl. Make a shallow well in the middle with the back of a spoon. Drizzle the remaining olive oil over it.
- Sprinkle sesame seeds,sumac and walnuts.
- Serve immediately or leave in fridge for a day for improved flavour.
- But remember not to serve it chilled. It should be at room temperature.