Muhammara or mhammara is a well-known roasted pepper cream typical of Aleppo, Syria. Although, some say that its origin is Lebanese. It is currently consumed throughout the Middle East. Even in Spain, after the Turkish invasion, cream of roasted peppers is eaten, very like the muhammara called acuka.
Muhammara is another jewel on the list of Arab creams, such as babaganush or hummus. When you serve this type of cream with enough pita bread, people eat it all, until not a hint is left on the plate. It's the kind of thing that once you taste it, you can't stop eating it. Perhaps the most appreciated of this cream is its smoky flavor that is delicately mixed with tahini and cumin. The way bell pepper is cooked makes it have a slightly sweet flavor, which is often intensified by the addition of muscovado sugar.
Making this cream is very easy, especially if you have a gas stove. The secret is to grill the peppers until the skin turns black. Do not worry because they can burn, then you will remove the burned skin from the paprika, but you will keep all the smoky flavor.
While the central ingredient in this recipe is red bell pepper, the rest of the ingredients are available. But some cooks add pomegranate juice to Muhammara, which gives it a very exotic flavor. The rest of the ingredients are easy to get. Tahini, cumin, olive oil, walnuts, and breadcrumbs are usually the staples for this recipe.
Here we leave you a list of our secrets to prepare the best homemade muhammara.
Secrets to making a delicious Muhammara
1. The selection of peppers is critical because only fresh peppers work for this recipe. When the skin of the pepper begins to look slightly wrinkled, it adheres so tightly to the meat that it is impossible to peel it off. And after burning the pepper, you will not be able to remove the burnt pieces, which will make the muhammara bitter. Make sure you have fresh peppers, and the redder the better.
2. Peppers can be roasted in two ways. The best is in a gas stove, where the pepper will be directly in contact with the flame. This will make it roast. If you don't have a gas stove, place it in the oven, on a tray lined with parchment paper, and cook it at most temperature for 30 to 40 minutes.
3. The muhammara has a sweet touch, it depends on the amount of natural sugar that the paprika contains, you can add a little muscovado sugar. This discreet sweetness is very important.
4. The texture of this cream depends on the bread. When blending the mixture of breadcrumbs, oil, and roasted pepper, a creamy texture is obtained, ideal for this cream. Don't skimp on buying a good quality extra virgin olive oil.
4 red bell pepper, 600 g
1 cup of walnuts
2 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons of tahini
¼ cup breadcrumbs
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon of white pepper
½ teaspoon of cinnamon
½ teaspoon of cumin
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
1 tablespoon of muscovado sugar, or ½ tablespoon of white sugar
⅓ cup of extra virgin olive oil
Salt to taste
Preheat the oven to 200 ° C / 400 ° F. Wash the peppers very well and rub them with olive oil. Line a baking sheet with waxed paper. Place the peppers on top and take them to the oven.
After the first fifteen minutes, remove the tray from the oven, and turn the peppers, using metal tongs. You should repeat this procedure about three times until the peppers are black all over.
Next, remove the peppers from the oven. Open them with a sharp knife, be careful because they will still be very hot and may have steam. Remove the seeds and stem. Then, with a serrated knife, scrape the entire surface of the pepper until the layer of burnt skin is removed.
Place the peppers in a bowl and rinse them thoroughly with water to finish removing all the burned skin.
Place the roasted peppers in the blender glass with the rest of the ingredients. Walnuts, garlic cloves, tahini, breadcrumbs, black and white pepper, cinnamon, cumin, lemon juice, sugar, extra virgin olive oil, and salt. Blend for at least five minutes until the mixture is homogeneous. If you notice that the mixture is very dense, you can add a little more olive oil, or water. Otherwise, if you see the mixture very thin, add an extra tablespoon or two of breadcrumbs.
Serve the mixture in a mug, accompanied by sliced pita bread.