Walnut and red pepper paste (Muhammara)

July 16, 2013  •  Category:

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)

1 cup red pepper puree or chili pepper paste (homemade is best)

¾ cup olive oil

1 ½ tsp cumin

2 Tbsp pomegranate molasses (more, to taste)

salt, to taste

3 cloves garlic, mashed in a mortar with a pinch of salt

½ cup dry breadcrumbs (a bit more if needed) (optional)

3 Tbsp  ketchup (optional)

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


16 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. Mark Wisecarver says:

    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 😉

    • Joumana says:

      @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

  2. Belinda @zomppa says:

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

  3. Rosa says:

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



  4. Nejla says:

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


  5. Mark Wisecarver says:

    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.

  6. Subha says:

    Good Dip…….Looks spicy!!!!!!!!!

  7. Amy says:

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

  8. zerrin says:

    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.

  9. Susan says:

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

  10. mariam says:

    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!

  11. Jamie says:

    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!

  12. Joshua says:

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

    • Joumana says:

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

Add a Comment