Muhammara and cheese cigars

November 18, 2010  •  Category: ,


Suppose your  friends are  coming over and you want to prepare something that you can store in the freezer and pop in the oven on the day of your dinner party?

These muhammara/cheese cigars are light, crispy, cheesy (yet not too much) and have the addictive taste of muhammara or red pepper and walnut  dip.

These  are not spicy, just flavorful.


  • 1 pound of mozzarella, shredded
  • 200 g of feta cheese desalted (a large chunk, soaked in several changes of water for a day or so)
  • 1/3 cup of muhammara
  • 1/2 white onion
  • 3 egg whites (large eggs)
  • white pepper, a few tablespoons of toasted sesame seeds
  • 30 yufka leaves (pre-cut triangles of paper-thin bread)
  • clarified butter to brush on the leaves (or oil or a combination)


  1. To whip up a batch of muhammara: Place in the bowl of a food processor the following ingredients: 2 cups of walnuts, 1/2 medium white onion, a teaspoon of cumin, a tablespoon of pomegranate molasses, 1/2 cup of hot red pepper paste, 1/3 cup of olive oil. Process till smooth but still chunky, taste and adjust seasonings.
  2. Take about 1/3 cup of this batch to use for this recipe and save the rest for another day as a dip with kebabs or toasted pita triangles or raw veggies.
  3. Place in the food processor bowl the cheeses, egg whites,muhammara, white pepper and half an onion. Pulse till combined.
  4. Lay a long piece of aluminum foil on the work surface. Drizzle a teaspoon of clarified butter on the foil; lay a triangle of dough on it and rub it in a circular motion for a couple of seconds over the butter to coat the outside layer (and save time!); another method is to brush the triangle with butter and flip it over.
  5. Place a generous tablespoon of filling on the edge of the wide side of the triangle. Roll it up like a little cigar and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment or baking paper (not wax paper, as it will burn at high temperatures).
  6. Place all the cigars side by side, sprinkle some lightly toasted sesame seeds on them and bake in a preheated 375F (200 C) oven for about 20 to 25 minutes; serve immediately if possible.

NOTE: It is possible to make these in advance and freeze them unbaked for 2 weeks.

If you cannot find these pre-cut pastry leaves, you can use phyllo dough and cut into triangles. I would double-wrap them (use two or three layers of phyllo).


47 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. Amber @Almost Vegan says:

    I just ate muhammara last weekend for the first time in far too long! I love it. 🙂

  2. Adelina says:

    I need to make these for my mom. She’s a big muhammara fan. Love your cool spin on the classic dip.

  3. Karen says:

    Ah great way to use left over muhammara– thanks!

  4. turkey's for life says:

    Here I am again, commenting. Well I saw that lovely word ‘muhammara’ AND combined with cheese cigars – another favourite of ours. We’re more naughty than you though. We deep fry them here. 🙂

    So another recipe we must try…

  5. Rosa says:

    Gorgeous cigars! That filling must be delicious.



  6. Katerina says:

    These appetizers are just for me. Flavorful but not spicy. I love this kind. My sensitive stomach will love them too.

  7. Diane says:

    Mmmmmmm I know I am going to love this recipe. Diane

  8. Priya says:

    Very crispy cigars..feel like grabbing..

  9. Cherine says:

    Mmm this looks really good. You know last time I made rkakat, I put them in the freezer and when I wanted to fry them, they were stuck to each other 🙁

  10. peter says:

    I pop pre-made phyllo bites in the freezer too! I love the cigars for their look and depending on the filling, flavah!

  11. Dimah says:

    Those look so good! Fantastic combination!

  12. Lea Ann says:

    Love this idea. I’ll have to start my search for muhammara.

  13. Devaki says:

    Oh this is GOOD! I love it and so much more fun than the usual appetizers. How acn one go wrong with your Muhammara and feta! Love everythign about it 🙂

    Ciao, Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

  14. Angie's Recipes says:

    These look super crunchy and make a great party food!

  15. 5 Star Foodie says:

    These look like they would be totally addictive! I need to try muhammara very soon.

  16. lisaiscooking says:

    These look so perfect for a party, and they look delicious! I’d love to have a supply of these in my freezer.

  17. Barbara says:

    I love having unusual things like this in my freezer….I’ve never seen precut pastry leaves in my market, but will look more carefully next time, Nice to hear it works just as well with phyllo.

  18. SYLVIA says:

    Joumana, this is a good conversation starter and a party favorite, you will make whole batch of new friends. These tasty cigars look so delicious, it’s almost dangerous. I love that gorgeous pink color that comes through when you bite into them. Assembling them is as good as eating them. Now I will welcome the holidays in style with these flavorful finger food.Thank you again, for another great recipe.

  19. Caffettiera says:

    I adore muhammara. Your tip on how to grease the triangles is pure genius – brushing them certainly takes longer! I am considering substitutes for the pastry if I can’t find this one – the one you are using looks a bit like it is already cooked because of the brown spots, like very thin, pliable bread, is it so? Or is it raw like phyllo? Thanks!

    • Joumana says:

      @Caffettiera: these yufka leaves are as you guessed correctly, already cooked and very thin pieces of bread; Phyllo could be used as well, I would use 2 triangles of phyllo and grease each one.

      @Hegui: Substituting harissa would work, however I would use a smaller amount, unless you like heat! 🙂 (or add some red peppers to the mix to dampen it!)

  20. Zara says:

    Oh, I’ve just imagined all the ingredients coming together and my mouth is watering just at the very thought of trying this:) Muhammara, cheese and crispy bread sounds really tantalizing! And I love sesame! 🙂

  21. heguiberto souza says:

    yumm that looks delicious! With a side of a salad it could be the center piece of a perfect healthy meal. Joumana do you think Harissa sauce would work well in this dip?
    Thanks for sharing another fabulous recipe with us 😉

  22. Faith says:

    These look like the perfect little appetizer, the muhammara must add so much flavor! I love how they can be frozen too!

  23. Sushma Mallya says:

    very very tempting..wish i could taste this one

  24. Damaris @Kitchen Cor says:

    Cheese cigars, yum. Seriously, FEED ME!

  25. Katie says:

    I love the sound of these – and the idea that they can be made ahead and frozen!

  26. Magdalena says:

    Light, crispy, cheesy ? Sounds delicious! And, indeed, they look very light on your picture. Kind regards.

  27. Pamela says:

    look delicious like all your food! Too bad I wouldn’t get half of the ingredients here were I live(:

  28. Katie @Cozydelicious says:

    Oooh, I love muhammara! These look awesome. And I love having hors d’oeuvres on hand.

  29. Eve@CheapEthnicEatz says:

    I adore muhammara so mixed up with mozzarella and feta…heaven. This is great for the holidays.

  30. Tim says:

    These look amazing! I am going to make these.

  31. Nadji says:

    Il ne me reste qu’à préparer une mouhammara.
    Ça semble délicieux.
    Bon weekend et à bientôt.

  32. elra says:

    Superb ! Muhammara is my favorite dip sauce. Good idea for pastry filling too.

  33. Ivy says:

    I am sure I will not be able to stop eating them. I am already salivating.

  34. Susan says:

    This sounds like a wonderful appetizer! I would love to find those precut sheets also~

  35. Joanne says:

    These sound like the ULTIMATE thanksgiving appetizer! I adore muhammara. Combine it with cheese – heaven.

  36. deana says:

    Great idea to stuff them with that pepper mix… they must be sooo addictive!!!

  37. FOODESSA says:

    Great idea for an appetizer platter. I’m addicted already…well maybe, I’d have to put a lot less hot pepper so that my tummy doesn’t do twirls ;o)…but, I get the feeling a nice glass of wine would help soothe and smooth the way also. LOL
    Fabulous recipe. Thanks,

  38. grace says:

    i’ve never been a fan of cigars, but then, i’ve never seen an edible version. consider me converted. 🙂

  39. Mary says:

    These look fantastic! I love muhammara, and have phyllo in the freezer. This will be the perfect appetizer with drinks in the holiday season–thanks!

  40. Natalie says:

    These look so good! But so does everything on your blog I am working my way through. Tried the pumpkin hummus on friday, I roasted it, it was amazing so addictive. I have put you on my blogroll and will be name checking you as I have to share the hummus recipe!! Thanks for the inspiration..

  41. Julie says:

    Ces cigares sont parfaits pour l’apéritif, j’aime beaucoup le côté croustillant de la pâte avec le fromage.

  42. Foodycat says:

    These look wonderful! What a great snack.

  43. Mace says:

    I really like your blog. Please visit mine at above URL.

  44. Maria says:

    Those sound wonderful. I am always looking for easy, finger-foods that will please a crowd and these surely fit the bill.

  45. GirlonRaw says:

    YUMMY! I actually did a raw version of these when I was at 105degrees here

    I love my lebanese food. Your photos look incredible!

  46. NomadView says:

    Oh,, these are great. Sigara Borek, as the Turks call them. Lovely but served straight from the fryer. Any delay and it is only half as good.. which is still darned good..

    I tried my hand at making a Turkish recipe for a fancy meat filled pastry. In the Spiral pattern. Stuffed with spiced ground meat, onions, peppers, pinenuts. I even put cheese and finely chopped dried tomato on one occasion. I didn’t exactly follow the directions but the result was great, if I don’t say so myself. Made too much, of course and never could finish it!

Add a Comment