15 December 2016
This time out on Knidos Cookery Club we’re going to make muhammara, a spicy roasted red pepper and toasted walnut dip. Originally from Syria, this spread made its way onto Turkish tables via Antakya, which is located at the easterly end of Turkey’s Mediterranean coast.
This delicious dip was brought to Knidos Cookery Club’s attention by our good friend Tolga, who introduced us to the method of roasting the peppers over an open flame on our gas hob.
Put some tin foil under the burner to stop your hob getting all messed up and cook the peppers over a medium-high flame. Using a chopstick or a wooden skewer can make the peppers easier to manoeuvre on the flame.
You can also grill the peppers or roast them in the oven, but the open-flame method gives them a smoky flavour that combines excellently with the toasted walnuts and chili flakes.
Muhammara works well when teamed with our courgette and almond dip and our carrot and walnut tarator as part of a scrumptious meze platter.
two medium-sized red (bell) peppers
100 g walnuts (shelled and chopped)
one clove of minced garlic
one lemon – use the juice of half the lemon for the dip and use the rest as a garnish
two teaspoons chili flakes
two teaspoons pomegranate sauce or molasses
25 ml olive oil
Roast the peppers over an open flame, under a grill or in a hot oven until all the skin is blackened. Turn them round regularly to ensure they are cooked evenly.
While the peppers are roasting, toast the walnut pieces in a frying pan over a medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring or shaking the pan regularly. Don’t overcook them as they can taste bitter if you do.
Place the peppers in brown paper bag and allow to cool – this will make it easier to peel the peppers. Now remove the outer skin from the peppers then halve and de-seed them. Be careful when cutting the peppers as some hot liquid may spurt out if they’re not cooled down enough.
Cut up the peppers and put them with half the walnuts and other ingredients into a blender and mix until you have a smooth paste. Add the rest of the walnuts and give the dip another blast – but not for too long as you want some of the walnuts to still be crunchy.
Garnish with slices of lemon and fresh mint (if you have it) and serve alongside other dips with pita bread and/or slices of raw carrot, cucumbers and green peppers.
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