Ingredients have a way of becoming trendy. Pomegranate molasses was certainly one of them. To be honest though, I'm years behind following anything remotely trendy. So as I write this post, I'm a little sheepish how all the praises have been sung long ago in the blogosphere. However, it certainly didn't diminish my enthusiasm for muhammara, a sweet tart spicy spread with Middle Eastern origins. Pomegranate molasses is a key ingredient for this addictive spread.
I first came across muhammara from a local newspaper article. I was immediately intrigued by the spicy version muhammara halabia and visited the deli the very next day to get my own. Oh my, I couldn't get enough! I ate it on pliable pita, crispy lavash, even directly from a spoon. I'm sure it would also be great on grilled meat but I never have a chance to find out. Lucky for me, the deli is far from my house and the dip is a little on the pricy side. Otherwise I would probably stuff myself silly with it everyday.
During one of my muhammara shopping trips, I also bought a bottle of pomegranate molasses. At the time, I wasn't entirely sure what to do with it except knowing that it would come in handy should I attempt to make muhammara on my own. The opportunity finally arrived this weekend. Summer harvest is in full swing and gorgeous sweet red peppers abound at the market for a song. The rest of the ingredients are all pantry staples. I don't claim my muhammara to be authentic. However, it is a good approximation of what I get at the deli without using many exotic ingredients. I used smoked paprika and smoked salt (salish) because I love the extra layer of smokey flavour. I can't emphasize enough but you need the pomegranate molasses to provide that unmistakable sweet tart flavour.
This recipe yields a lot of muhammara. Have a party and invite your friends to share! I think that's a fantastic way to get them hooked. Or, if you're like me, simply divide into small containers and stash away in the freezer.
yields 1 1/2 cup
- 375g roasted red pepper
- 50g bread crumbs (I usually just take from my stash in the freezer)
- 1 clove of garlic
- 4 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons double strength tomato paste
- 3/4 teaspoon smoked sea salt
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon smoked sweet paprika
- 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes or Allepo pepper
- 100g toasted walnuts
- Blitz everything except for walnuts in a food processor until smooth.
- Add walnut and pulse until you have a thick paste. Thin with additional olive oil or liquid from the roasted red pepper to desire consistency. Personally I prefer a thicker spread for dipping. Adjust seasoning as necessary.
- This recipe yields a large batch. Divide between smaller containers and freeze what you don't immediately need. Otherwise, chill in refridgerator for at least 2 hours for the flavour to develop.