Muhammara…How do I love thee?

Let me count the ways?

On pita, in tabbouleh….just to lick….and will soon try it on pizza! Forgive me, but ancient civilisation wasn’t blessed with crockery, so if the foundation is right, then the fruits can’t be that far off….therefore, finger-eating is not a curse!


I’m into food….just a little bit. Is it that obvious? I’m addicted to recreating recipes especially those I sample when out and about and enjoy like Ling Cartoccio from Rome and now this. See, a few weeks ago, we were at the Food Blogger’s Connect and I we had a delicious, smoky red Middle Eastern dip. That instant, I just knew what would have to follow. On investigation, I found out that their version of the dip was made with smoked red paprikas, breadcrumbs, walnuts, pine nuts, almonds and some chili pepper. Thankfully, when I asked Beth of Dirty Kitchen Secrets, she said the words I wanted to hear: ‘I have a recipe for Muhammara’ on my blog’!!!

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Of course I bidded my time to make it, waiting for a perfect opportunity like Sunday, when husband and ALL three kids went to a zoo out of town…….leaving ME all alone at home. All morning and afternoon. What bliss……You can imagine what I did. I tidied the living room…..took me so, so long, between checking out different Muhammara recipes and actual cleaning. Some called for cumin, others for Aleppo pepper. The regulars were all there – bread, peppers, nuts, Pomegranate molasses…..but I knew what I had in mind….and what was possible.

First of all, the nuts of choice would have to be almonds, which I purchase by the kilo! I love them. Unlike pine nuts. This means I make my pesto with almonds and have them on my favourite no-cook dessert ever (Turkish yogurt with ginger jam and flaked almonds). Then since I didn’t have any pomegranate molasses, I considered using a bit of maple syrup…but ended up using some blackcurrant cordial! I figured that the effect wouldn’t be that different!

Now I am in love with cumin, especially dry-roasted and coarsely crushed so it figured that I would have to put some in, along with some chili pepper.

IMG_7596The final piece of this puzzle was to make some bread. And thanks to Jennifer @ Unplanned Cooking who virtually introduced me to Jeff and Zoe of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes and my beautiful King Arthur’s Wholegrain Baking book, I was able to make super-delish, puffy wholewheat pitas to go with my dip! Recipe for another day though…..forgive me!

IMG_7634Without further ado, here it goes:

Muhammara recipe (Adapted from Dirty Kitchen Secrets)

Yield: 1 1/2 cups


2 slices of wholegrain bread (~ 70g), toasted
2 cloves of (roasted/smoked) garlic (smashed)
80g flaked, raw almonds
2 red paprikas (bell peppers), blackened
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or Aleppo pepper)
1 teaspoon dry roasted cumin seeds
20ml (1 1/2 tablespoons) blackcurrant cordial (or pomegranate molasses)
20ml olive oil
2/3 squirts of juice from a lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
2 food bags or small ziploc bags

How to

Prepare the peppers by poking the bottom end with skewers or long fondue forks and set them to blacken on the stove top…on medium heat. Turn them round every couple of minutes till they are almost completely blackened and then take them off the heat. I must confess that this is a tricky stage. Sometimes, the peppers just didn’t want to cooperate and I was super thankful I had them skewered. Eventually though, the job was done and I popped them into my little sandwich ziplocs and left them to cool off.

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(While the peppers were blackening, I toasted my bread and dry-roasted my cumin seeds.)

When the pepper are cool, take them out of the bags and place on a chopping board. Keep a small knife handy. Starting from the bottom end, pinch off a bit of the skin and start peeling. Yes, the blackened bits will stick to your hand and the peppers. even when the skin is all off but dont despair and whatever you do, DO NOT RINSE THE PEPPERS. Sorry, I shouted! But this is really important. Instead, use the knife to scrape off the blackened bits and wipe your hands on some kitchen tissue.

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When you’re done, split them open and remove the seeds and veins, leaving the flesh for our dip, again using your little helper (aka knife) to accomplish great things.

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Out comes the  food processor. Feel free to dump things in, save for the liquids (which I left for last). In goes the bread, almonds, spices, garlic, red peppers, chili, paprika etc. Then *biltz* and rest. Again. Stop. Again. Stop…till the mix looks well combined. Use a spatula to scoop and clean the sides in, now and again.

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Then follow with the the required amounts. If you feel you need more than what is specified in the recipe, by all means modify.

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Regardless of what you do, taste and season with salt to ensure you have a tasty dip.


When it is ready, you should have a well blended, red thick dip, which tastes and smells lovely.

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Store for up to a week in the refigerator if you not serving straight away.

If you’re have plans of serving it up ASA, then slice warmed pita bread into sticks or  and present as part of a spread or mezze. Garnish with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of paprika powder.


I took some over to friends of ours who are veggies and we had it with some taboulleh. Next day, there was a pita attack…

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… And what I have left will grace a pizza this weekend, with mozzarella and halloumi! Thank you Levant and Beth for bringing me so much yummy pleasures this 2009. God bless you!

I’m submitting this to yeast-spotting this week!


If you had to choose a favourite dip you’ve had or made, what would it be?


Tomorrow, I’ll be sharing a top Dutch holiday recipe….called Oliebollen. Stop by if you can. LOL XOXOXO

[wpurp-searchable-recipe]Muhammara…How do I love thee? – – – [/wpurp-searchable-recipe]


  1. We serve a version of this dip at the restaurant I work in; the recipe, like their others, is not authentic and uses shortcuts. It is made with 1 1/2 cups walnuts, about 6-8 roasted red bell peppers (though from the can), 1/4 cup olive oil, a Tablespoon each of lemon juice, balsamic vinegar and ground cumin; two canned chipotle chiles, salt to taste, and toasted bread (two slices).
    All blended up in the food processor.

    Today we were out of bread so I substituted corn chips. We use the ‘tri-color’ chips, so I picked out the red and white ones. I thought the blue chips might muddy the color.

    Such is life in a half-ass restaurant kitchen. Your version sounds more satisfying!

  2. Yum, yum and yum. You asked if I had a favourite dip that I’ve made – I think the answer is muhammara! I discovered it earlier this year (pre-FBC) and fell madly in love with it. I have a version on my blog too (which uses walnuts instead of almonds), must give your version a whirl 🙂

  3. Hello Ms. OZ!

    Happy New Year!!

    Sorry for the delayed response but I vowed to be offline during the holidays! May I say that this looks absolutely lovely! Your photos are terrific! And, your addition of maple syrup is a beautiful and I can only imagine how delicious it must have been! I really do love all the styling that went into this post.


  4. Tasteofbeirut…..I know what you mean but hey, it tastes great right so why rock the boat!

    Krista – enjoy the bread

    Julia@Melanger – recipe coming soon!

    Sarah, I felt the ‘force’ of FBC upon me while I made it 🙂

    Kate, fingers were indeed made before forks :-). How apt! Excited about the sound of getting POM molasses. That’s a promise, I’ll hold you to it!

    Meeta, thanks. You’ve inspired me SO, SO much this year. Thank you.

    Sarka, it honestly tasted at least as good as….though I think it looked better 🙂 Proud mum and maker of muhammara!

    Pei-Lin, exactly the way I felt a few months ago…a dip, with BREAD? That came as a surprise to me too!

    Michelle, grilling them in the oven works too, I’ve done that as well. Usually, I do a whole batch of green, yellow and red and then store them in a jar and toss in salads and in sauces. Need to return to doing that.

    Joanne, I love CILANTRO. I’ve never made hummus. Will try it…must try it. Promise to let you know how it goes!

    Mary Moh, thanks

    Susan…I’ve been waiting for AGES to make something for yeastspotting and I’m so glad that finally, I could. Glad you like KB!

    Jen, I also heart levantine/middle eastern food and recreating is the best part of tasting something new. The tweaking and pulling and adjusting….foodie’s paradise.

  5. These pictures are absolutely beautiful. I love dips so I know I will have to try this. Recreating dishes from restaurants is one of my favorite things to do. They can be so inspirational!

    My favorite dip that I’ve made is a cilantro-jalapeno hummus. Can’t be beat.

    Happy New Year!

  6. Oooh, I still have to make this! It was the first time I came across Muhammara when I went to the FBC. I’ve never been patient enough to blacken red pepper and wonder if roasting them will work instead? Cleaner too? Lovely photos! I can see you love food blogging. 😉

  7. Oz, you’ve made me remember a cheese spread that I made up years and years ago. I’ll have to see if I can find the ingredients here and whip some up. Wow. How could I forget that? It was veryvery good!

    Thanks for this recipe. I’ve never heard of muhammara. It looks like the perfect thing to keep around. As for eating with fingers, well, IMHO that’s the best way–fingers were made before forks, eh?

    I was going to ask you where you found the pomegranate molasses. Sigh. I’ll try to find us some next time I go to visit my family.


  8. Oh, I love this!! The King Arthur’s Wholegrain Baking book is so fantastic and this dip sounds amazing. 🙂 Thank you for the link to the artisan bread blog!!! You made me a happy girl with that discovery 🙂

  9. I had fun reading how you interpreted muhammara, especially the bit about substituting pomegranate molasses for maple syrup. Hey! WHY NOT? You can get away with it, we (us poor natives) can’t! or if we do, we get a lot of flak for it! I still feel guilty about including ketchup in mine!
    Have a great 2010 celebration!

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