Muhammara (which means “made-red” in reference to the red chili peppers in it), is versatile and quick and easy to prepare. The key is to use good walnuts and red pepper paste. If these conditions are met, it will take 3 minutes to make with a food processor. The red peppers can be mild or hot, or a combo.
This recipe is a classic; the mother of a childhood friend whose family was from Aleppo, (Syria) passed away leaving her recipe notebook; he was kind enough to share it. The only thing I changed are the measurements; I kept all the ingredients the same.
INGREDIENTS: 2 cups walnuts (previously soaked in water for several hours and drained)
½ cup red pepper puree or chili pepper paste (homemade is best)
¾ cup olive oil
1 ½ tsp cumin
2 Tbsp pomegranate molasses
salt, to taste
3 cloves garlic, mashed in a mortar
½ cup dry breadcrumbs (a bit more if needed)
3 Tbsp ketchup
Dash black pepper
1. Place the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor; run the machine until the mixture is thick but moist, adjusting the amounts and tasting to adjust seasoning.
2.Transfer to a container and keep tightly closed in the fridge for several weeks. Serve with grilled meats or fish or chicken and as a dip with bread or pita chips. You can also incorporate a small amount to a pasta sauce or a soup or stew.
View Chouf Mountains (Ein Zhalta), Lebanon