Saturday, January 8, 2011

Mimicking Muhammara

The last time D and I went to Tanoreen in Bay Ridge, just before Christmas, we asked for a double order of Muhammara. I'd been looking forward to the trip to Tanoreen for weeks, thinking of the slightly crunchy, garlicky sweet mystery. It didn't occur to me until the end of the night, after sopping up the last juicy specks on the dish with a piece of pita, that I could probably learn how to make it at home. If not as good as Tanoreen, I could at least enjoy and entertain others with something like it at home. I vowed I would make it sometime shortly after the New Year.

Epicurious has a great recipe that's simple and ended up being very tasty. I might add more olive oil next time, and try to blend the ingredients in a way that allows it to retain a bit more of the individual ingredients' distinctness, but for a first try, it was very good.

There will never be a substitute to enjoying a warm dish of muhammara with a glass of Lebanese wine surrounded by friends and the warmth of Tanoreen itself, but I'm glad I can whip this up for any occasion.


a 12-ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained
1/2 cup toasted bread crumbs
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted lightly and chopped fine
2 to 4 garlic cloves, minced and mashed to a paste with 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon fresh lemon or lime juice, or to taste
2 teaspoons pomegranate molasses
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
1/2-3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
toasted pita triangles as an accompaniment

In a food processor blend together the peppers, the bread crumbs, the walnuts, the garlic, the lemon juice, the pomegranate molasses, the cumin, the red pepper flakes, and salt to taste until the mixture is the consistency you'd like. Add the oil gradually. Transfer the muhammara to a bowl and serve it at room temperature with the pita triangles.

The original recipe, which I adapted only slightly, from Epicurious can be found here.

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