Walnut and red pepper paste (Muhammara)

mhammara My favorite condiment.

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. pine forest


View Chouf Mountains (Ein Zhalta), Lebanon

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  1. Mark Wisecarver
    Posted July 16, 2013 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    Another wonderful childhood memory, fantastic!
    This is another beautiful word to hear also, very beautiful to hear.
    By the way, what is “Ismisilib” in English? I know I just slaughtered it, but you know, the common Lebanese word used in times of compassion? Thanks ;)

  2. Posted July 16, 2013 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

    That touch of pomegranate molasses sounds perfect!! Mm…going to have to save this one.

  3. Joumana
    Posted July 16, 2013 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

    @Mark: It is “esem” (word for: word ) el (article for: the) saleeb (word for: cross). I am surprised you still remember it :)
    It is said “be-esem el-saleeb” in the name of the cross

  4. Posted July 17, 2013 at 12:14 am | Permalink

    That dip looks evers so good! This year, I’ll have to make muhammara.



  5. Posted July 17, 2013 at 12:19 am | Permalink

    Hi Joumana,
    Fascinating to see through you how much recipes we have in common. We are making Muhammara too.


  6. Mark Wisecarver
    Posted July 17, 2013 at 4:50 am | Permalink

    Thank you! :)
    That expression is precious as is “Ha-d-am”, which i also just messed up, never learned to write Lebanese, but did speak it fluently.

  7. Posted July 17, 2013 at 4:53 am | Permalink

    Good Dip…….Looks spicy!!!!!!!!!

  8. Posted July 17, 2013 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    One of my favorites too! So easy to make and convenient because I usually have all the ingredients on hand.

  9. Posted July 17, 2013 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    I LOVE muhammara, and this one sounds so tasty! I’ve never soaked walnuts when making muhammara, must try that! And love pomegranate molasses in it.

  10. Posted July 18, 2013 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    This is something I have not tried but then I never had hummus until five years ago! Going on my must try list.

  11. mariam
    Posted July 20, 2013 at 6:13 am | Permalink

    looks amazing..but ketchup in muhammara, why? no need at all..sometime one sees these western additions to the middle eastern classics and cant figure it!

  12. Posted July 25, 2013 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    Oh, I’ll bet that recipe notebook is a treasure of amazing recipes! And this is one recipe I’ve wanted to taste but didn’t know there were so many interesting ingredients in the dish. Looks and sounds so good!

  13. Joshua
    Posted July 26, 2013 at 5:43 am | Permalink

    My same thought! Why would you put ketchup in muhammara?

  14. Joumana
    Posted July 27, 2013 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    @Joshua: You can substitute ketchup with what is called reb al-banadoora here or tomato paste. Ketchup is used as a convenience I suppose! :)

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  2. By Pomegranate Power | Barakabits on November 4, 2013 at 11:38 am

    […] For a delicious recipe using pomegranate molasses, visit Taste of Beirut […]

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