Muhammara – Red Pepper Relish
Muhammara is a dip from Aleppo in Syria made from fresh or dried peppers, chilli peppers, breadcrumbs, olive oil and pomegranate molasses. the pomegranate molasses brings both tartness and sweetness to the relish. Muhammara is eaten as a dip with bread, as a spread for toast, and as a sauce for kebabs, grilled meats, and fish.
3 red peppers or a jar of red peppers
50g fresh breadcrumbs
½ tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
1½ tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp dried chilli flakes
1 small garlic clove, peeled and crushed
50g walnuts, finely chopped by hand
2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra to finish
If using fresh peppers, preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6. Put the peppers on a tray and roast for 30-35 minutes, turning occasionally, until they are cooked and the skin is blackened. Put the peppers in a bowl, cover with cling-film and, once cool enough to handle, peel and discard the skin and seeds.
Pat the peppers dry, and place in a mortar or a blender or food processor. Add the breadcrumbs, lemon juice, molasses, cumin, chilli and garlic. Work this with a pestle until well combined, but not so much that the peppers no longer have a noticeable texture.
Stir through the walnuts and the olive oil. Add more pomegranate molasses and salt to taste the flavours will be quite intense and concentrated. Spoon the dip into a shallow bowl, using the back of a spoon to give it a wavy texture, and drizzle with a little olive oil. Serve at room temperature.
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