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 fascinating blend of red peppers, walnuts, olive oil, pomegranate molasses, and a handful of other ingredients.

Muhammara

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

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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 minutes

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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Comments

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?

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

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.

Justine

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.

Karen

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

Anonymous

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!

Meghan

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.

Stef

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?

Sylvia

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?

Antonia

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

Adriana

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

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!

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!

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!

Eve Mills

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

Deb

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.

Making this tomorrow for my women's potluck!

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

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