Make Ahead

How Do I Love Thee Muhammara?

August 27, 2010
Photo by James Ransom
Author Notes

I first tasted this at a conference for food bloggers in London, and I was SOLD. To make it, roasted red peppers are blitzed with toast, then spiced with the usual Levant suspects: pomegranate molasses, cumin, and Aleppo pepper. Make a lot, you won't regret it! To blacken the peppers, I skewer them with fondue forks and use those as the handle to cook them on my stove. To peel them after the perfunctory bagging, I start from the bottom end and keep a small knife handy to help scrape off tough bits. Whatever you do, DO NOT RINSE THE PEPPERS, as that will strip them of their flavor. I use almonds in this recipe because I love almonds, but the version I had in London was made with a combo of walnuts and cashews. You can make it however you like! —Kitchen Butterfly

Test Kitchen Notes

Red pepper lovers, gather round! This spread is a satisfying, hearty alternative to your everyday hummus. The blend of walnuts and fresh bread crumbs gives a toothy, welcome mouthfeel, and the rather significant dose of cayenne (I didn't have Aleppo on hand) had me reaching for this to spread on sandwiches, top veggie lunch bowls (#notsaddesklunch-approved), and liven up some Greek yogurt. With that said, if you have a low spice tolerance, I recommend reducing the amounts called for here. —Lauren Ruben

  • Makes 1 1/2 cups
Ingredients
  • 2 slices whole grain bread, toasted
  • 80 grams raw walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon smoky paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Aleppo or cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dry-roasted cumin seeds
  • 2 cloves of roasted or smoked garlic, smashed
  • 2 red bell peppers, blackened, skinned, with veins and seeds removed
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses, plus extra to drizzle on top
  • 20 milliliters olive oil
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. To a food processor, add the dry ingredients (bread, walnuts, paprika, pepper, and cumin seeds), followed by the garlic and cooked red peppers.
  2. Blitz, stopping at regular intervals, until well combined. Scrape down the sides.
  3. Add the liquids, then blitz again until well combined. Taste. You can increase the sweetness by adding more molasses, or amp up the sourness with a touch more lemon juice. Salt to taste, and serve with a drizzle of pomegranate molasses.
  4. Use muhammara as a dip, a spread, or in place of pizza sauce. You can even add some stock and a touch of yogurt to make it into a spicy soup.

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Review
For the first 9 years of my life I hated food and really loved sugar till Wimpy (British Fast Food chain) changed my life! These days, all grown up, I've junked junk food and spend my days and nights on a quest - to find and share the sweet, sweet nectar that's food in The #NewNigerianKitchen! Dreaming, cooking, eating and writing...about and adoring a strong food community that's big and bold enough to embrace the world's diverse cuisines - I'm passionate about celebrating Nigerian cuisine in its entirety. Why do I love food so? It is forgiving. Make a recipe. Have it go bad....but wake up tomorrow and you can have another go at succeeding! Only with food!