I had never heard of this beautiful, delicious dip until I opened a copy of the first Honey & Co book, and was idly flipping through it looking for something to add into a mezze dinner I was preparing. Let me introduce you to the marvel that is Muhamra.
While it’s not much to look at, the flavours of muhamra are so complex and marvellous that it instantly became my favourite thing to make ahead and take to gatherings. Smokey paprika and tart, tangy pomegranate molasses just elevate the earthiness of the slow-roasted vegetables, and there’s something truly exquisite about slow-roasted garlic that can’t be put into words. Trust me, people won’t believe you when you tell them it hasn’t been bought from a shop!
It really is ridiculously easy to make – while I love cooking, I’m big on making things that can be made alongside other dishes, largely because you can ignore them for long periods of time before you need to do anything. This fits the bill completely. Enjoy…
2 bell peppers – I used one red, one yellow, but it really doesn’t matter. A green one will give a lovely bitter edge
A big handful of cherry tomatoes (Honey & Co. suggest a large plum tomato, but I rarely have them in the house)
A whole head of garlic, chopped widthways (see photo)
1 red onion
A whole chilli (red or green) – keep it whole
A big pinch of coarse sea salt
Black pepper, to taste
60g of roasted walnuts
3 tbsp pomegranate molasses
½ tsp smoked paprika
A glug of olive oil
A stick blender or small food processor
- Heat the oven really high – above 200°c (mine goes to about 220° then gives up)
- Line a roasting tray with foil, making sure it goes up the sides
- Deseed the peppers and chop them into big-bitesize chunks. Chop the onion in half, then into quarters. Add the peppers and onion to the tray with the whole chilli, the two halves of garlic, and the cherry tomatoes. Add a glug of olive oil and the salt, add a twist of black pepper, and toss everything together.
- Roast for about 20 minutes, then open the oven and re-toss everything. Roast again for another 20-25 minutes – you want everything to catch and blacken very slightly on the edges to enhance that lovely smokey caramelised flavour.
- Remove the tray from the oven, and leave to cool for about 20 minutes. (at this point, if you haven’t roasted your walnuts, do it in the still-hot oven)
- Remove the stalk from the roasted chilli, and slip the roasted garlic cloves out of their skins
- Put the roasted veg, the toasted walnuts, and all the juices from the bottom of the pan into a bowl, add the paprika and pomegranate molasses, and pulverise until chunky-smooth (you know what I mean, right?)
- Check the seasoning, and serve within a few hours
Serve with fresh warm pittas, baba ganoush, and salad. Delicious.
I made this on the same day I made my baba ganoush (recipe link above) – the bowls were a gift from my dad, from this beautiful wee ethical gift shop in our home town called Uneeka. I buy something every time I go in there, and these bowls look just as beautiful empty on my mantelpiece as they do with food in them!
This recipe is adapted from page 82 of Honey & Co.: Food from the Middle East