Muhammara is one of the main condiments in the Lebanese culinary repertoire; served as a mezze item (to dip into) and as a side sauce with kebabs, it can be used in dozens of dishes.
Simple to make, with the assertive and warm flavor of red peppers made a tad fruity by the addition of pomegranate molasses, you will use it in your kitchen like you would ketchup!
INGREDIENTS: Quantity will yield 14.1 oz or 400 g.
- 3 large red bell peppers (about 8 ounces of paste or 230 g.)
- 4 cloves of garlic (.2 oz or 5 g.)
- Walnuts (1.8 oz or 50 g.)
- Ground cumin (3/4 teaspoon or 3 ml)
- Pomegranate molasses (1 Tablespoon +1/2 teaspoon or 15 ml)
- 1 small onion (1.2 oz or 40 g.)
- 1 teaspoon of red chili paste or Aleppo pepper or smoked paprika
- Salt (1 teaspoon or 5 ml)
- 1/4 cup of olive oil (extra-virgin) (2 oz or 60 g.)
- Place the walnuts in a bowl, add water to cover and soak for one hour.
- Peel the garlic cloves, chop and place in a mortar with the salt; pound and mash the garlic.
- Wash the peppers and place on a foil-lined cookie sheet under the broiler, turning them every few minutes until the skin is blackened and charred. At this point, place the peppers in a plastic bag with a couple of tablespoons of water, close the bag tightly for 10 minutes. Open the bag and peel off the skins of the peppers; cut the peppers open and discard all the seeds and white parts inside, as well as the stem.
- Peel the onion and cut in quarters.
- Place the peppers, onion, mashed garlic, drained walnuts, cumin, pomegranate molasses, red chili paste or paprika and olive oil in the bowl of a food processor. Process for one minute or until the mixture is smooth yet still thick and with some texture. Taste to adjust seasoning and transfer the sauce to a bowl, cover and refrigerate.
NOTE: I have made muhammara with a jar of roasted piquillo peppers and it came out delicious!
It is OK to double the amount of walnuts: The sauce will taste richer with a thicker texture; it all depends on what you will use it for.