Muhamarra Dip/Spread/Marinade... Here's a recipe for a healthy dip...packed full of flavor. Some time ago, we went to a Middle Eastern restaurant... We happened to order an appetizer platter consisting of three dips...hummus(chickpea dip), baba ganoush(roasted eggplant and tahini dip), and muhamarra(roasted bell pepper and walnut dip). The dips were accompanied by some good,warm pita bread. Mmmm....Though we were quite familiar with the hummus and baba ganoush dips, the muhamarra was new to us. It sort of stood out on its own. It was packed with lots of flavor..roasted peppers, walnuts, cumin... We really liked it. I kept thinking how tasty it was. Because I am always looking for different appetizers that are simple to make, without skimping on flavor, I knew instantly that I wanted to duplicate it at home. One day, on the spur of the moment, I decided to whip it up...I had a couple of roasted peppers, some walnuts, and the spices. So I made this dip. I tried to stick to the basic flavors which are used in the classic muhamarra dip. While the muhamarra dip usually has toasted bread crumbs added to it, I chose not to use it this time around( because I didn't have any:)). The bread crumbs do thicken the dip some and give it flavor as well as texture. Use the bread crumbs, if you have some. The dip also uses pomegranate molasses, which is sometimes hard to find...at least here anyway. If you can't find the pomegranate molasses, you can usually substitute balsamic vinegar instead. Some recipes add tomato paste as well, while others add paprika... I chose to use paprika this time around. The tomato paste imparts additional flavor as well as color... maybe next time I'll add some tomato paste.
The neat thing about this dip is that you can adjust seasoning to your taste... so feel free to add/omit according to your taste. If you like it more spicy add more chile, if you like more cumin, add more...it really is up to you. This dip is also great "smeared" over grilled chicken/beef kabobs. This dip can be modified by substituting almonds instead of the walnuts and omitting the cumin....it is then called Romesco Dip. But the basis for both of these dips, is the roasted bell peppers. I thought you might like to try it...so, I am sharing this with you. You can see a few variations of this recipe by clicking on any of these recipes for ideas .... 101cookbooks, Food Network, Saveur. Hope you enjoy...
You will need:
2 roasted bell peppers( you can use jarred, if you like)
2/3 cup toasted walnuts( I used a combination of pecans and walnuts... that's what I had)
1/2 tsp cumin(you can add more if you like)
1 tsp paprika( or smoked paprika...or tomato paste)
1/2 tsp chipotle powder(or a sprinkle of chile flakes)
2 garlic cloves
2 tsp balsamic vinegar( or pomegranate molasses, if you can find it)
kosher salt to taste
2 TBS olive oil( +/-)
1/2 tsp sugar/honey
1/4 - 1/2 cup toasted whole grain bread crumbs( optional...I didn't use)
warm water to thin it out
Place all the ingredients in a blender/food processor....except the warm water.
Blend/process until fine. Add more olive oil, if you like. This thins it out a bit and adds flavor as well. You can also thin out the dip by adding some warm water. Blend/process again. Taste and adjust seasoning. You can add more spice, seasoning or acidity according your taste. I chose not to use the bread crumbs, but the original recipe usually adds it. So feel free to do so. Serve with pita chips, vegetables or even use it as a marinade for grilled meats.