Our Arabic flavor recipe for the month of January/2015 was Mohammara, spicy, red, velvety and scrumptious recipe from the Aleppan cuisine that delightfully combines sweet with sour. A mouthwatering contradiction of flavours to your taste buds as you detect the pungency of red capsicum molasses, the semi sweetness of pomegranate molasses and the crunchiness of walnuts. Muhammara is prepared and served along side all sorts of Kebbeh, to the extent that no Kebbeh is perfect enough unless it has Muhammarah to go with it! But it's not limited to Kebbeh only; you can have Muhammarah along with Hummus, a little bit of each in one bite.. Oh boy!
This was my Entry, and it was an amazing recipe and I will sure do it again.
Recipe was introduced for us by the lovely Mona Saboni (host of the month) from Aleppo,and it was a great choice!
Ingredients : 3 - 4 Tbsp red capsicums molasses 2 tsp red capsicums chopped finely 2 - 2.5 cups water 2 cups breadcrumbs (200gm) 2 tsp cumin 6 Tbsp pomegranate molasses 1/2 cup olive oil 1 cup walnuts Pinch of sugar (upon preference)
-Soak red capsicum molasses and finely chopped capsicum in two cups of water for half an hour. -Add breadcrumbs, cumin, pomegranate molasses and oil then mix together. You can mix by using an immersion mixer for a smoother result. -Pick some whole walnuts and set aside for garnishing. Crush remaining walnuts then add to the Muhammara mixture. -Taste Muhammarah and adjust by adding sugar and pomegranate molasses according to preference. -Spread the mixture in a serving dish then design the surface using the back of a fork or a spoon to make streaks. Garnish with the walnuts you set aside before and drizzle with olive oil. Serve along side all types of Kebbeh and BBQ, or with Hummus and Arabic "pita" bread. Tips: 1. It is recommend to prepare Muhammara one day in advance to insure that all flavours are well blended to get the best taste. 2. For breadcrumbs, a special Aleppan bread known as "Sakhaneh Bread" is used in this recipe, but it can be replaced with toasted slice bread that doesn't contain sesame. In this case reduce the amount of water to one cup and add gradually if needed. Some housewives prefer preparing Muhammara by using the traditional Syrian bread by soaking it with red capsicum molasses then mixing it in a an electric mixer, and resume as stated in the recipe above. 3. The flavour of a homemade Muhammara differs than the one served at restaurants, since the later usually add some tahini sauce to it, or a pinch of Turkish coffee sometimes! You can divide your Muhammara into two batches and add some tahini to one batch in order to compare both flavours and decide which one you prefer. 4. The amount of pomegranate molasses cannot be exactly determined in this recipe due to the difference of flavours from one brand to another. An authentic molasses should be semi sweet with a dash of bitterness due to its sour nature. And in this recipe, adding a pinch of sugar is just what it needs to get the perfect flavour. Other brands might be extra sour or extra sweet, therefore adjust the recipe accordingly after tasting.