Muhammara

Muhammara Recipe


Muhammara (or mouhamara) is something I love to turn people on to. It's a traditional red pepper spread originating from Syria made with a beguiling blend of red peppers, walnuts, olive oil, pomegranate molasses, and a handful of other ingredients - depending on the cook. I included a recipe for it years ago in Super Natural Cooking, and make it when something reminds me of how much I love it. Which is exactly why you're seeing it today. I was having dinner the other night at Aziza, here in San Francisco, and always order Mourad's beautiful spreads - one of which reminds me of muhammara (although I think he makes his with piquillo peppers and almonds, or perhaps whatever looks good at the moment). It's a perfect spread for late summer -- you can use red peppers from the market and grill them -- ideal alongside grilled flatbread or toasted pita. Make this the next time you're considering doing a hummus or labneh - or (even better) go for an assortment.

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A couple notes - this is quite a hearty, substantial dip - toasted walnuts round out the flavor of a beautiful red pepper base, and a rich splash of sweet pomegranate molasses lends a subtly sweet backnote to the red chile flakes. My version tends to be light on the cumin and red pepper compared to other recipes you might come across - it's a matter of personal preference, really. Correspondingly, you can easily make the spread thicker or thinner depending on how you plan to enjoy it.

Muhammara

 
 
 
 

Muhammara

1 tablespoon crushed red pepper 
flakes or 1 small red chile
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

3/4 cup walnuts, toasted

1/4 cup whole-grain bread crumbs

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
, plus more to serve
2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses

1/4 cup tomato paste

2 to 3 roasted red peppers

1/2 to 1 cup warm water

1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt

to serve: torn basil

Using a hand blender or a conventional blender, puree the chile flakes, cumin, most of the walnuts, bread crumbs, olive oil, pomegranate molasses, tomato paste, and red peppers to a smooth, even consistency. Mix in the warm water in increments to achieve an easily spreadable consistency similar to a thick yogurt. If you¹re going to use it for dipping, you might want to leave it a touch thicker. Stir in the salt and adjust the seasonings if needed. Serve topped with torn basil, the remaining walnuts, and a thick thread of olive oil.

Serves 4-6.

Prep time: 10 min

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Your Comments


Sara
August 27, 2014

That is a STUNNING muhammara!

 

Meghan
August 27, 2014

I don't know how I've never heard of this precious dip, with such wonderful flavors and ingredients. And yours look so lovely, as always.

 

Mari
August 27, 2014

This is beautiful. Also, I'm obsessed with Aziza - wish it wasn't such a trek to get there. Though maybe that's a good thing...it would be a cluster-*** anywhere else in the city :) Do you have a favorite dish?

 

Jules @ WolfItDown
August 28, 2014

This looks delicious! I love the garnish you've used here, it looks so delicious :) x

 

sabine@mamangerie
August 28, 2014

This sounds like a perfect way to knock people off their feet alongside home made bread! the flavor combo of pomegranate & chili is completely amazing! Will try…!

 

Mike
August 28, 2014

I love muhammara, but for some reason I tend to forget it even exists.
Thanks for the remainder Heidi!

 

Maja
August 28, 2014

This looks amazing!

 

I always order this at our local Syrian restaurant. It's sooooo yummy and I could never figure out how to make it myself. Thanks for this!! You totally saved my butt (and made my mouth very happy)!

 

DessertForTwo
August 28, 2014

This is probably the only recipe from your books that I haven't made yet. Thanks for the reminder! :)

 

patricia
August 28, 2014

Perfect, I have a very prolific red pepper plant this year and I am tired of pickling things!

 

Mallory @forkvsspoon
August 28, 2014

This is lovely and perfect for late summer dinner parties.

 

myriam
August 28, 2014

This looks gorgeous! I'll have to try adding pomegranate to my muhammara.

 

molly yeh
August 28, 2014

i discovered muhammara around a year ago and i couldn't believe what i had missed up until then! i could eat this stuff with a spoon. i could take a bath in it. YUM!!!!

 

Sarah
August 28, 2014

I have a steady stream of this thanks to the Syrian fast food joint down the street. But glad to have a recipe if/when I can't have it delivered to me in 5 minutes. Muhammara is amazing with a fried egg and some toasted pita!

 

Jen
August 28, 2014

Is there a good substitute for pomegranate molasses? It's the only thing I don't have in the pantry.

 

Anna
August 28, 2014

I am ashamed to say that I didn't know about Muhammara but am going to remedy that as soon as I get my hands on some red peppers!

 

amy
August 28, 2014

Wow, this looks great, potentially a contender against red pepper hummus for my favorite dip! Thanks for all the beautiful Middle Eastern recipes and reminders to get out my pomegranate molasses!

 

jencloss
August 28, 2014

I LOVE your muhammara. Amazing.

 

Kerrie
August 28, 2014

Oh man, I made muhammara last year for the first time and it was so delicious. I could have sworn I got the recipe from your blog, but not I'm not so sure. I'll definitely be trying this version though!

 

Excellent, another use for pomegranate molasses! I have a bottle that has been taking me ages to work through and as a result I am instantly intrigued by any recipe that uses it.

 

Inge | blogboutique
August 28, 2014

Wow, looks amazing!

 

Deepika
August 28, 2014

What could I use instead of pomegranate molasses? Sigh ....

 

Adena
August 28, 2014

Making this tomorrow for my women's potluck!

 

Melissa
August 28, 2014

Gorgeous Heidi! Love the orange with the purple basil flowers, stunning as always. Peppers are really plentiful right now, can't wait to try this.

 

Deb
August 28, 2014

Really, no substitute for pomegranate molasses? Am I doomed to never try this?

 

Eve Mills
August 28, 2014

any chance that you know where i can buy the plastic strainer that you mentioned in your labneh article? i would love to make labneh along with muhammara!!

HS: Good eye Eve! A friend sent me that one from Jaipur, India - it's technically a double-lined water strainer...happy hunting!

 

Nanette
August 28, 2014

I've been making this for a couple years now! I absolutely love it as an alternative to hummus. Thanks for sharing, I'm happy to have a new recipe to try. Everyone loves it!

 

I absolutely love muhammara. Haven't used tomato paste in it before though, but I can see how it would give it a richer, sweeter base. Will have to try this version for sure!

 

Heather @ Tea with Me
August 28, 2014

This sounds delicious. I can't have walnuts, but I like the idea of it being with almonds. Beautiful as always.

 

Adriana
August 28, 2014

I'll never get pomegranate molasses where I live, I must say it is new to me. I am also wondering if there could be a substitute or a way to make it? Pomegranates we do have around here
Thanks, this must be really good, hope to try it

 

Antonia
August 28, 2014

I've read of pomegranate molasses in more recipes lately, especially those including other Middle Eastern ingredients. A couple of years ago I bought a bottle of concentrated pomegranate juice from a Lebanese merchant. When I tasted it, it was quite bitter and frankly disagreeable. I doubt that it has anything to do with the molasses you include in your ingredients. Can you tell me what I have and how it might be used?

 

Marina
August 28, 2014

@ Jen - link for simple recipe to make your own pomegranate molasses:
http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/pomegranate_molasses/

 

Sylvia
August 28, 2014

I have the same question as jen and deepika. Can't get a hand on any pomegranate molasses in austria. Can I use something else instead?

 

Stef
August 28, 2014

Muhammara is at the top of my favorite foods. This is amazing as a sauce with baked chicken thighs. And as a dip for crudite. And straight from a spoon. We no longer eat bread in our household and I miss muhammara with pita.

 

Meghan
August 28, 2014

I made this tonight and it is AMAZING! I didn't have pomegranate and molasses, so I just added both (2T molasses and 1T pomegranate). Tastes great!

Longtime fan of yours, and your recipes have never failed me. Thanks for sharing your gifts with us!

 

Anonymous
August 28, 2014

Oops -meant to say I didn't have pomegranate molasses so I used pomegranate (juice) and molasses. Not hard, folks! =)

 

Karen
August 28, 2014

I first made Muhammara circa 1993 from a recipe in Gourmet Magazine. I had never heard of pomegranate molasses before and it actually took about a year to find some. This was a staple in our house for years; I used to make a big, big batch in the fall and freeze in small containers. It makes for great pesto. Thanks for making be think about it again.

 

Justine
August 28, 2014

This looks and sounds delicious, do you have any recommendations for walnut substitutes for those of us with tree nut allergies? I usually sub sunflower seeds, but wanted to see if you have any other recommendations.

 

Ciao Florentina
August 28, 2014

Just the inspiration I needed for all those walnuts in my pantry nicely awaiting a recipe to jump into. Oh! That Purple Basil, Gorgeous!

 

Lail | With A Spin
August 28, 2014

I absolutely love muhammara and shared a recipe on my blog too last year. Do you use regar bread crumb? Have you tried the dip with pita bread crumb?

 

Jess
August 29, 2014

For the roasted pepper, should you remove the skin after grilling/roasting?
Thanks

HS: Hi Jess, you certainly can....I tend to do that particularly if there is a lot of char on the peppers.

 

Kate @ ¡Hola! Jalapeño
August 29, 2014

Your photos are so gorgeous and I'm loving the fresh, bright flavors of this dip!

 

anita
August 29, 2014

Amazing! I had to stop after work last night to buy some bell peppers after reading your recipe. Made it as soon as I got home and it was delicious. Thanks for sharing! :)

 

audrey
August 29, 2014

This looks wonderful! Where can I find pomegranate molasses in San Francisco?

 

Maria
August 29, 2014

You can find the pomegranate at any Middle Eastern store

 

Millie | Add A Little
September 1, 2014

This is so beautiful and looks delicious Heidi!

 

This looks delicious. A wonderful change up from hummus or a veggie based spread.

 

Angel Reyes
September 3, 2014

I love middle eastern food. That been said, I'm ashamed to confess I've never heard of this before. Thanks for making us acquaintances. I especially look forward to trying the pomegranate molasses.

 

Audrey
September 3, 2014

Thanks, Maria!

 

La Cuisine d'Helene
September 4, 2014

When I was young, I lived on a farm. My then boyfriend, picked me up one day and we went to eat in a Syrian restaurant in Montreal. Was taste buds were craving for me the next day. I have been making this dip for friends for a long time now and everyone enjoys Muhammara, it's so good.

 

Nicole @thejameskitchen
September 5, 2014

I wrote about your Muhammara recipe just a few days ago when talking about a mezze spread. Ever since we made it from your book, it was love on first dip.

Thanks for putting up here again, I can link to it now: here, if you are interested: http://thejameskitchen.wordpress.com/2014/08/24/fava-falafel/

Have a great weekend, Nicole

 

Katherine D
September 6, 2014

This sounds just perfect Heidi. I'm going to be catering a huge event in a couple of weeks and am wondering if you think this will freeze well. I bet it would. Would be nice to make a few things ahead of time. Thanks for the wonderful recipe. Cheers from Portland!

HS: I'm actually not sure K - if you try it, let us know!