muhamarra (red pepper, walnut and pomegranate dip)

Every once in a while, hummous needs a nap.  It’s not that everyone’s favourite chickpea and tahini spread has done anything wrong.  He’s delicious, healthy, easy to make and astoundingly versatile.  There’s clearly nothing wrong with that.  It’s just that, after making appearances at every single picnic and potluck,  tucking himself gracefully into many sandwiches and salads, and being on his best behavior whenever you need a snack, hummous is exhausted. 

So, muhamarra steps in, scoring all the same points for taste, ease, and nutrition, and winning extra points for punchy flavours where she might lose a few for versatility. 

Made from a base of roasted red peppers and toasted walnuts, the drizzle of thick, sour and fruity pomegranate molasses is what makes the stuff so addictive and special.  When I have a big jar of the it in the fridge, things are looking pretty good.  In addition to filling in for hummous as a dip or spread, I love a few big spoonfuls tossed with a hot tangle of spaghetti.

yield : approx 3 cups

note: you can use whatever method works best for you, but toast the walnuts in a dry skiller over medium heat until they are deeply golden in the center, and I roast the bell peppers right on my (electic!) stove top using a method sort of like this one.

1 cup walnuts, toasted
4 red bell peppers, roasted
1 small onion, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
3 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon sumac

salt and pepper, to taste
1-3 teaspoons Pul Biber or other hot chili powder (adjust to taste)
3 tablespoons olive oil

Skin the peppers and de-seed.  Place all ingredients except for the last 3 in food processor and process until you get a smooth paste, scraping down the sides as needed.  Taste, and add salt, pepper and chili as desired.  Then, slowly drizzle in the olive oil with the machine running.