The first time I tried Muhammara was at Al Hamra. I came across Ottolenghi’s recipe by chance and I now get my fix whenever I want, thanks to my TM5 taking all the effort out of it. I love it so much that at a cooking demonstation I organised at the lifestyle space Tann Rokka recently, I chose to demonstrate this simply delicious recipe adapted for the amazing machine!
This Levantine dip is a combination of ingredients made in heaven; sweet/sour pomegranate molasses, sharpness of lemon juice, heat of Aleppo chilli and warmth of cumin added to walnuts and roasted red pepper with just enough breadcrumb to pick up the juices: flavour and texture perfection. Thank you Yotam for perfecting the proportions!
Now, I know the recipe calls for Aleppo chilli but it is not something I always have in my spice cupboard so I do substitute it with ordinary mild chilli flakes – dried Kashmiri chilli, roasted deseeded and flaked is a good substitute and works a treat so don’t feel that you cannot make it without! And with a Thermomix roasting the chillies and on reverse, whacking them makes easy work of creating your own, fresh, delicious chilli flakes!
I am sharing the relatively quick version with you here. That means you do have to roast your red peppers first. If you haven’t the time or inclination to do this then a jar of red peppers from the supermarket is a quick fix substitute but cannot beat the fresh ones. And when I decide to be virtuous and stay off gluten, I use 50g milled flaxseed instead of breadcrumbs.
When I feel the urge, I go one step further and roast my cumin seeds for 8 minutes on Varoma at speed 2 and then grind them into a powder for 1 minute at speed 10 before making the breadcrumbs but ready made ground cumin is fine so don’t run away!
Let me tell you, I am lazy. Ottolenghi says that making this dip in a food processor is not a good idea because you will lose the texture and he advises using a mortar and pestle. Well the Thermomix has a reverse blade function that stirs and at speed 5 “beats” the ingredients and this prevents the dip becoming mush so in fact you can create the whole dish in the one bowl in a matter of seconds (once your peppers are roasted of course!).
NOW ALSO AVAILABLE ON THE NEW UK PLATFORM: THERMOMIX RECIPE COMMUNITY
3 red peppers
50g fresh bread
½ tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
1½ tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp dried Aleppo chilli flakes (or substitute)
1 small garlic clove, peeled and crushed
50g walnuts, finely chopped by hand
2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra to finish
Heat the oven to 200C/390F/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 peppers dry.
Place the bread and garlic in TM bowl. Process on Turbo/2 secs/ x 3 or till you have fine breadcrumbs.
Add the walnuts. Chop 3 secs/speed 5/REVERSE.
Add lemon juice, molasses, cumin, chilli and roast peppers, olive oil and salt. Chop 2 secs/speed 5/REVERSE.
Check and if you still have large chunks of peppers or walnuts, repeat for no more than 1 or 2 secs at speed 5 to even out the texture but don’t let it turn into a paste!
Add more pomegranate molasses and salt to taste – you want the flavours to be pretty intense, and stir on lowest speed on reverse to mix. Pour the dip into a shallow bowl and drizzle with a little olive oil. Ideally, leave it for 30 minutes for the flavours to develop. Serve at room temperature.
Dedicated to my sister in Boston who now has a Thermomix!