A new vegan dip has taken over the Internet – and it claims to be better than hummus.
Muhammara, pronounced ‘mmmhamara’, is a Middle Eastern spread that is rivalling the chickpea-based dip.
Originating from Aleppo, Syria, Muhammara – which means ‘very red’ – is made from charred red peppers, walnuts, and olive oil, but other variations also include Aleppo pepper, garlic, toasted nuts, and pomegranate molasses.
The red dip is part of the Turkish and Levantine cuisines, but has most recently taken the UK by storm, getting featured in many London brunch menus.
London-based chef Dixie Innes of Easter Mediterranean joint Aphrodites told Vice: “It’s this completely delicious dip, it’s vegan, and it’s so easy.
“It’s quite an intense, sweet and sour flavor, and then you’ve got this really lovely nuttiness which gives it body.”
According to muhammara enthusiast Rachel Hosie, the versatile spread can be enjoyed with everything, from crudités, or topped on flatbreads.
“I don’t know if it’s better than hummus, but it’s definitely up there, and should be more popular in my opinion!,” she told The Independent.
Here’s How To Make It:
3 red bell peppers (400 g once seeds and cores removed)
60 g walnuts
15 ml / 1 tbsp pomegranate molasses*
¼-½ tsp hot chilli flakes (depends on your preference)
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp tomato paste
¾ tsp fine sea salt
1 small garlic clove, pressed
a handful of breadcrumbs, to thicken (optional)
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, to garnish (optional)
Set the oven to 200º C / 390º F. Wash the peppers, cut into halves, remove seeds and membranes and then cut into halves again. Put the peppers skin down on a baking tray and into the oven for 40 mins. 30 mins in, turn them over (skin-side up) for another 10 mins.
While the peppers are roasting, take a dry pan or skillet and gently roast walnuts stirring often so that they don’t burn. They will be slightly darker when done and will release their beautiful aroma.
Get a large glass or ceramic bowl, BBQ tongs and a cling film (glad wrap for the Aussies) ready. As soon as the peppers are done, grab them and chuck them all into the bowl. Wrap cling film tightly around the bowl – you can also use a plastic bag. The point is to let the hot peppers sweat for a few minutes as this way their skin will come off much more easily.
After about 15 mins, tear the cling film open and let the peppers cool down so that you don’t burn your fingers. Once the peppers are cool enough, take the skin off – the best way to do that is to start from the pointy bit of each pepper.
Chuck roasted walnuts into a food processor and process until you have a coarse meal. Add in peppers, chilli flakes, ½ tsp of salt, garlic, cumin, pomegranate molasses, tomato paste and process. Make sure you close the chute as this dip is runnier than hummus and can attempt an escape:). If you want a thicker dip and are not worried about gluten, add breadcrumbs to thicken it up.
Transfer the dip to a small plate and pour a bit of olive oil on top to stop it from drying out and to give it an extra shine. Enjoy with toasted pita bread, other mezze-style dishes and salads
*Pomegranate molasses have a sweet-tangy taste. If you cannot find any where you live, I would substitute it with 1 tsp maple syrup for sweetness and 2 tsp balsamic vinegar for tartness.
Dea is passionate about pursuing gentle, pure living in all its forms. She’s a veg and fruit foodie, who loves to explore the healing properties of plant-based foods and then fully indulge in their sun-filled taste. She believes that “In the end, only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.”