Muhammara (also known as ajika) is a spicy pepper dip that originally hails from Syria but is also found in Palestinian, Lebanese and Turkish cuisine.
It is usually very hot and used sparingly as a condiment, but I have toned down its spiciness so you can enjoy it as a dip with vegetables or a spread on Norwegian crispbread, in wraps or hamburger buns.
Other possible applications include serving it as a sauce for kebabs, grilled meats, and fish, stirring it into chickpea or lentil stews, mixing it into pasta, as a relish on a Mediterranean mezze plate or as a zingy accompaniment to a simple plate of rice and beans.
Enjoying healthy fats and vegetables never was easier or tastier.
Muhammara (roasted red pepper & walnut dip)
- 1 food processor or blender
- 1½ cups walnut halves
- 12 oz roasted red peppers in brine; drained. You can roast fresh bell peppers yourself -- see note below.
- ½ tsp salt
- black pepper freshly ground
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- ½ tsp pepper flakes ideally Aleppo-style pepper flakes, such as these
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- a pinch chipotle powder chipotle or other chili powder
- 2 tbsp pomegranate syrup here's the brand I use; available at Mediterranean.Middle Eastern markets or online. If you can't find it, you can substitute it with balsamic vinegar reduction.
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Place the walnuts on a baking sheet and toast for 7-8 minutes, until fragrant. Remove and cool.
- Tip the drained peppers into the food processor or blender along with all the other ingredients. Process for about 30 seconds; stop to scrape any bits off the sides with a spatula, then process again for a minute. Don’t worry if small pieces of nut remain -- this gives an interesting texture to the dip.
- Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately or refrigerate in a tightly sealed container. If you plan to store it for longer, cover the surface with a thin film of olive oil to prevent spoilage.