I have been waiting all year to make this classic Levantine dip, Muhammara, heralding from Turkey and Syria. Red capsicums aren’t in season very long down here in Melbourne, and only showed up in my veggie box a fortnight ago. I got excited and ordered a few extra to specifically make this dip, and I’m so glad I did! It’s sweet, sour, spicy and totally more-ish. The toasted walnuts gives it a delicious nutty depth of flavour, as well as adding body and texture. Great in place of hummus or baba ghanoush, or along side them both as part of a larger mezze spread.
If there are no red capsicums in season where you are, or you’re not inclined to roast your own, you can always use the ones you find preserved in jars, or at your local deli. I’ve included the quantity for that below, if you choose that route. I’ve also given directions for making muhammara with and without a food processor. Either way, I prefer it quite chunky in texture, but you can puree it smooth if you prefer.
This past weekend I was excited to find some Aleppo chilli flakes at the new South Melbourne Essential Ingredient store. In the currently political climate, it feels both humbling and special being able to use these Syrian chilli flakes, despite them being grown in Turkey. They are a mild chilli flake, and I’ve used them according to my taste below (self confessed chilli wimp here!) but feel free to add more if you like things a little hotter – pretty sure those who love a bit of heat would like to add up to another teaspoon to what I’ve called for below. If you can’t get your hands on Aleppo chilli flakes in person or online, any mild and fine textured chilli flake will work here – adjust to your taste.
Hope you enjoy this less common addition to your condiment repertoire, it’s such a perfect way to celebrate late summer’s produce. xx
End of Summer Muhammara Dip
I use Syrian chilli flakes here, but any fine mild chilli flakes will work – add them to taste. You can use pre roasted red capsicum (pepper) from a jar or your local deli, use the quantity specified below. Pomegranate molasses is a sweet and sour condiment, find it at Middle Eastern grocery stores or gourmet supermarkets.
Adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Muhammara.
Serves 4-6 as a dip.
Cook time: 30 min
Rest time: 10 min
Prep time: 10 min
500g | 2 large red capsicums (red pepper; or 3 medium) or 280g roasted capsicum flesh
100g | 1 cup walnuts, toasted, + more to serve
40g | 1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs
2 tsp Aleppo chilli flakes, or other fine mild chilli flakes (to taste)
30ml | 1.5 tbls pomegranate molasses (+ more to serve)
60 ml | 1/4 cup olive oil (+ more to serve)
1 tbls lemon juice
2 tsp ground cumin
Flaky sea salt, to taste
To roast your own capsicum: Set your oven to 200C. Rub your whole capsicums with a little olive oil and roast them on a tray for 30-35min, till blackened, blistered and soft.
Move them to a medium sized bowl and cover with a plastic bag or cling wrap. After about 10 min, or when cool enough to handle, remove their flesh and discard the skin and seeds.
Make your Muhammara in a food processor: Place the prepared roasted capsicum in your food processor with the walnuts and bread crumbs and pulse a few times so they are a chunky texture (or you can puree till smooth if your prefer). Transfer to a bowl and stir through the remaining ingredients, adjusting the salt and chilli to your taste.
Make your Muhammara by hand: Use a mortar and pestle to break up your prepared roasted capsicum, then add the walnuts and breadcrumbs and work them till they are a chunky paste. Transfer to a bowl and stir through the remaining ingredients, adjusting the salt and chilli to your taste.
To serve: Serve in a flat bowl. Use a spoon to make a ripple effect on the surface and drizzle over more olive oil and a little pomegranate molasses. Sprinkle with chilli flakes, crushed walnuts and flaky sea salt.
Serve with toasted pita or flat breads, or as part of a larger mezze spread. Muhammara is also great as a condiment, thinned out over pasta or as part of a sandwich filling.
Will keep up to 5 days. Store leftovers airtight and refrigerated, best served at room temperature.