Turkish Food – Muhammara?

We’ve made an amazing discovery and a fantastic addition to our meze collection! Since starting Turkey’s for Life, we’ve both started browsing other people’s websites and blogs to see what makes them sit down and share their info with the virtual world. You might have guessed by now that we’re both a bit food obsessed and there are some gorgeous sites out there.

A Jar of Muhammara

Muhammara – jarred up and ready to be eaten

The other day, I was browsing for nothing in particular and stumbled across a site called Taste of Beirut. I clicked on the link and straight away this recipe caught my eye. We’re suckers for a good spicy-looking meze and this – well it looked like a good spicy-looking meze. We’ve never heard of it before. It’s known as Muhammara and apparently originates from Syria. According to the author, it’s popular all over the Middle East and is eaten in Turkey. We have never seen this meze in Turkey (have you?) so we’re wondering if it might be popular in the east of the country where food is generally spicier.

There are two (only slightly different ) recipes for muhammara on Taste of Beirut; one for muhammara with pasta and one for muhammara with jacket potato. We followed the Muhammara with jacket potato recipe but ate it with pasta – that’s us! I think the only difference between the recipes is the use of red pepper puree instead of red peppers.

Pasta with Muhammara

The Taste of Beirut suggestion – it works!

The mixture made enough muhammara to coat our pasta (a bit like pesto – boil the pasta, drain it and then stir in the mixture) and I put the rest of it into this jar because I thought it looked pretty and quite professional, for us. Of course, it wasn’t in there very long! We were both obsessed with it and it made it’s way to the table over the next few meals.

You might be thinking you need a food processor to make muhammara – and the recipe does say to put all the ingredients into a processor and whizz them up. However, we still haven’t replaced the one I broke last Christmas so grinding and smashing was the name of the game. Great fun. Right, what did we do to make this gorgeous spicy, sour, nutty Middle Eastern dip?

  • We bought a packet of walnuts (about 250 grams), smashed them all up, in the packet, with a pestle and poured them into a mixing bowl.
  • We grated a small handful of breadcrumbs and added them to the bowl.
  • We chopped an onion as finely as we could and threw that on.
  • Then it was a couple of dollops of hot red pepper paste (you can put jarred red peppers into the food processor if you can’t get paste), a tablespoon of sour pomegranate sauce, a sprinkle of cumin and a sprinkle of sugar.
  • Give everything a good stir. We then added a glug of olive oil to loosen the mixture a little.
  • Chopped parsley was sprinkled over the pasta dish.

Apparently, muhammara is traditionally eaten as a dip with crutons. We bought some bazlama (the round, flat Turkish village bread), sliced it through the middle and toasted it. I can tell you that it’s amazing with hot toasted fresh bread…that’s why it didn’t last long in the jar!

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  1. Hi Thanks for visiting and commenting on my blog:) You have a great blog with many delicious recipes. I look forward to keeping up with you. Have a great weekend.

  2. I’ve never heard of this, but it looks fantastic! How can you go wrong with those flavors?? I don’t think this would last long in my kitchen either. Yum!

  3. I have never heard of that either TFL. Looks scrummy though. I will ask about it when I go into a restaurant today because my cooking skills are not something to be bragged about!

  4. Hey guys!! Muhammara is indeed a Turkish food; it does originate from Syria but it’s also made and eaten in south-eastern parts of Turkey like Hatay and sometimes in Diyarbakir too. You can find it at lots of southeastern restaurants in Istanbul if you can’t get south. I wrote about a particular restaurant on my blog a while back and posted a picture of their muhammara (http://www.turkishmuse.com/2010/09/akdeniz-hatay-sofrasi.html). I wasn’t a big fan, as it tasted primarily of walnuts and lacked any real spice, so I think I’ll try making your recipe.

  5. Karen, we couldn’t leave it alone. Not good for the diet I suspect. Nuts and oil. Healthy though. That’s our excuse. 🙂
    Natalie – think we have the explanation…
    Barbara – Ahhh, suspected as much. Will have a look at that post now. We made ours really spicy!!

  6. I subscribe to the taste of beirut, she is my go to for Lebanese food. I made muhammara only once but never tried it on potatoes, that’s an awesome idea.

  7. Yep, I’m now a loyal subscriber as well Sarah – fab recipes and loads of them are similar to Turkish ones so I like comparing, too.

  8. To me, the vegetarian Çiğ köfte that is served everywhere in İstanbul, and muhammara taste exactly the same…

  9. I think vegetarian çiğ köfte is made differently everywhere, Jeremy. In Fethiye, it’s just a case of squishing bulgur wheat up and mixing it with salça and a few spices. Not nice. The muhammara in this recipe turned out more like a type of pesto.

  10. Hi, how nice to stumble upon your blog! How do you like living in Turkey? I think you are pretty brave myself. I have been living here for about 30 odd years with my lovely Turkish husband. Here is Istanbul, by the way. I will send yr recipe for muhammara to my friend in SA as she ws asking me about it.

  11. Hi Claudia. Pleased to ‘meet’ you. Just had a look at your blog and suspect we might be trying a few of your recipes out soon. We love Istanbul. I presume you do, too? 🙂

  12. I am glad you tried the muhammara recipe I posted; I have actually posted yet another use for it on my site. I would like it very much if you’d link to my site when mentioning my blog! Thanks a bunch.

  13. Hi, Taste of Beirut. The muhammara we made from your recipe was gorgeous. In the post, we linked directly to your recipe (just underneath the first photograph) so readers could view it. We’ve now put a link to your homepage – at the first mention of Taste of Beirut – as well. 🙂

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