Makin’ Muhammara!

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A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of being taken to a Middle Eastern restaurant down the street from my house.  After a bit of a back and forth between whether or not to go with a “red pepper, pomegranate juice & walnut dip”.. .  I convinced my darling date we should try it out.  I tell you, it was lovely. Eating with him is always a wonderful experience, it’s so obvious when he is truly enjoying something.  He is expressive with pointing, mumbling, and a whole lot of “Oh my.. this is so good! (enter pointing).. so good.. (add in a head shake).. Man!”.  After his first few finger-points at the plate, I knew it was a good choice!

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Not only is it super simple to make, it tastes amazing right away, or the allowance of melding flavors provides an amazing taste experience if you leave it over night..  similarly in most ways to hummus.  The star of the show however, is not a garbanzo bean – it’s a walnut!   I have a very healthy relationship with hummus… that relationship will be changing drastically with the introduction of Muhammara.

Whether you want to roast the peppers on a flame or grill, or buy them roasted in a jar – it doesn’t matter.  As long as the charred skin has been removed, they work beautifully either way!  Pomegranate molasses is commonly sold in Middle Eastern supermarkets and specialty shops, if you can’t find it regular pomegranate juice is fine.. just add a touch more lemon juice.

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Muhammara

1.5-2 Cups of Raw Walnuts
5-6 Roasted Red Peppers (skin removed)
Juice of half a Lemon
1/4 Cup Water
4 Cloves of Garlic
3-4 Tbsp Pomegranate Molasses
Marash Chili or Dried Spicy Chili Flakes

Make sure the red peppers are at room temperature if you’ve roasted them yourself, then in a high powered blender or food processor combine all ingredients except the marash and/or chili flakes.  Taste the muhammara, if it is a bit sweet add some more lemon or pomegranate molasses.  Either scoop it out and eat it right away, or pop it in the fridge and it’ll keep for a few days. Sprinkle with marash or chili flakes before serving.   This beautiful dip goes very well with flat breads, pitas and nigella naan!

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