In the world of Arabic dips, most people are familiar with hummus, perhaps baba ghanoush as well (the smoky eggplant dip), but from my observation, fewer are familiar with the most beautiful dip of all: the delectable muhammara.
This is a classic dip common in the Levant region and originating from Syria (where my mother is from 🙂 ) To be more precise, it is from Aleppo- which is also notorious for one of the most prized hot peppers in the world, a key ingredient in this recipe.
Muhammara, in Arabic means “to redden”- reflecting the colour of this red bell pepper dip, made with other dreamy ingredients such as walnuts and pomegranate molasses. It is absolutely delicious and most certainly worth a try for the curious taste buds out there!
Please note the below quantities are approximations- most of these recipes were passed down to me by doing/learning in the kitchen alongside my mother.
- 2 large red bell peppers
- Handful of breadcrumbs
- 1 tbsp pomegranate molasses*
- Sumac (optional- but I like to include some of this)
- Garlic (optional)- very finely chopped
- Big handful of walnuts
- Olive oil
- Aleppo pepper*
- Slice the bell peppers in half, remove the seeds and roast in the oven (or on an open flame).
- In a food processor, add the walnuts and process until you get a coarse flour texture. Do not over process or else it will be a paste! Remove and set aside.
- In the same food processor, place the roasted bell peppers- and blend until you get coarse bits. Remove this from the food processor and place it in a large bowl.
- In the large bowl: add all the remaining ingredients (including the ground walnuts) and mix gently. TASTE AS YOU GO!!! The end product should NOT be watery- it should be semi-thick. The breadcrumbs will help absorb any water released by the bell pepper FYI.
- Enjoy! Like most Middle Eastern dips- this is best enjoyed the next day 🙂 The flavours tend to develop overnight, I find!
- Pomegranate molasses: while this is a little tricky to find in Jamaica, I have found that Tamarind paste does the trick! As does Coconut Aminos (found at some supermarkets in the healthy food section)
- Aleppo pepper: if you do not have this, please feel free to use the wonderful local scotch bonnet we have here!!!