Smokey, earthy, rich with just a little bit of spice - muhammara is a spicy pepper dip from the Middle East that has now found its way to the North East of England!
This is one of my favourite dips. I find myself making it at least every couple of weeks, changing it up slightly each time depending on my need & mood.
Roasting the peppers and toasting the walnuts when I want to feel more grounded. Keeping it raw when I crave something lighter. Upping the spice, adding more sweetness or throwing in extra lemon when I need more zing!
Listen to your body and feed it what it wants!
Aleppo chillis are used in this dish - I believe as Aleppo, Syria is where muhammara originates from - they are beautifully mild, fruity and sweet and if you can find them I urge you to give them a try. However if not do not worry, experiment with different varieties, there are so many to choose from.
Traditionally breadcrumbs would be used to thicken and add texture but here we have opted for almond flour to keep it gluten free. It also adds a little extra sweetness and creaminess along with healthful extras such as calcium, magnesium and vitamin E to name a few.
Although there will be some who are strict to their recipes and times when it's advised to follow the numbered methodology so as to know what you are making. I believe there's space to relax a little and feel our way into them. Each time you make something you will feel different, possibly be feeding different people, have alternative ingredients to hand, it'll be at different times throughout the seasons. Each moment offering us a new opportunity.
Maybe there is something in this about how I live my life or how we could all learn to be a bit more flexible and accepting of each others differences?! I'm sure there is but that is for another day, another blog.
And so, before I risk getting too deep and philosophical with you, lets eat!
2 large red peppers
100g walnuts (roughly chopped)
40g almond flour
1 tbsp lemon juice
1-2 tbsp pomegranate molasses
1 tbsp aleppo chilli flakes
1 tsp cumin powder
2-4 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic
1. Roast the peppers either on the grill or in the oven. Turn them regularly until all the skin has blistered and turns black.
2. Meanwhile, toast the walnuts in an oven for 10-15 minutes, giving them a shake occasionally.
3. Once done, put them in a bowl and cover to 'sweat' them. Once cool enough to handle peel the skins off, discard of seeds and transfer to a food processor.
4. Add the almonds, lemon juice, molasses, chilli, cumin and garlic. Blitz lightly to keep some texture.
5. Finally add the walnuts, 2 tbsp olive oil and generous pinch of salt and pulse till combined.
6. Add more olive oil if the mixture seems a little thick.
7. Taste and adjust lemon, pomegranate molasses and salt to your liking.
*To keep the muhammara RAW you could use the peppers raw and there is no need to toast the walnuts (this just adds a deeper flavour). Just make sure you blend the raw peppers until very smooth before adding the other ingredients. Alternatively for a mellower but still RAW dip, chop the peppers and put in a dehydrator for 2-3 hours until soft. Then, continue from step 3.
Don't forget to take a picture and give us a tag @madewithloveandplants if you make it :)