Mohamara, or Muhammara, is part of the large family of vegetarian dishes typical of the Middle East . It is less famous than hummus or babaganoush but no less delicious, and like these it is served as an appetizer with pita or crackers – but it also goes very well with vegetable pinzimonio. It has a beautiful, very decorative red color , which matches well on the table with the duller colors of the other creams. I discovered it thanks to an American chef I met on a forum, then I compared his recipe with others found in books or on the net and I developed my own. In my “Arab” dinners it always surprises the diners because it is little known, but it is one of the dishes that finish first!
It is a dish based on peppers, spices and pomegranate molasses , widely used in Middle Eastern cuisine, especially in Iranian cuisine. In our part of Italy it is not easy to find, but it would be better not to omit it because it gives the mohamara its characteristic taste. You can try it in ethnic food shops, or alternatively wait for the right season and prepare it at home: I did it, it’s simple and it’s the same as the original one. 5-6 large pomegranates are squeezed with a juicer, the juice is filtered and boiled for a long time with a spoonful of sugar and the juice of one lemon, until it takes on a syrupy consistency. In the fridge, tightly closed, it lasts several months. If you can’t find it, you can replace it with the juice of a lemon and a tablespoon of brown sugar, the flavor will not be exactly the same but it will still be good. Now you just have to try the recipe!
- 2 large sweet red peppers
- 10 walnut kernels
- 25 g of toast or crackers or fat-free toasted breadcrumbs
- 1 teaspoon of cumin powder
- 1 pinch of paprika
- 1 tablespoon of pomegranate molasses
- to taste of salt
- 1 slice of Garlic (optional, I often don’t put it)
- 1 tablespoon of oil
- Bake whole peppers in the oven or on the barbecue until the peel is browned. Let them cool in a paper bag (it helps to peel them better), peel them and remove the seeds.
- Put the toasted bread, walnuts, cumin and paprika in the blender and blend them together until you get a grainy mixture.
- Add the peppers, the oil, the garlic if using it and the pomegranate molasses and blend everything into a cream.
- Season with salt. Leave to rest in the fridge for at least a few hours, preferably until the next day. When ready to serve, top with a drizzle of oil and garnish with walnuts, toasted pistachios or pomegranate grains.