Lebanese food is always great, and it’s the only food I like to share, as normally I don’t share food! Anyway, recently in Dubai, I had the usual stuff at a Lebanese restaurant (hummus, babaganoush, shishtaouk, mixed grill, etc.) when I came across a reddish, hummus-like dip. Amazing, I had to find out what it was: Muhammara, made of grilled peppers, walnuts, other ingredients and, most important: Sumac. The sumac bush, native to the Middle East, produces deep red berries, which are dried and ground into coarse powder. It adds a bit of sweetness to this subtle and delicious dip which I eat either with Pita or Grissini if I don’t find Pita. It is perfect for apero, together with hummus, or for a tavolata or brunch, together with other small dishes.
2 red peppers
1 garlic clove
1 TBS pomegranate seeds
2.5 TBS tomato paste
3 TBS bread crumbs
2 TS sumac
1 TS chilli powder or cayenne pepper
1 TS salt
3 TBS olive oil
Cut the peppers in halves, empty the seeds, brush them with olive oil and place on a baking tray. Grill at 220 degrees in the oven for about 30 minutes. They will turn black and the whole kitchen will smell, but never mind, that’s the deal. Cooled off, take off the skin, dispose, and place the grilled, soft peppers into a blender.
Add the walnuts, and make sure they are toasted. If not, just place them into a non-stick frying pan and toast them for about 10 minutes, without adding oil.
Now add the rest of the ingredients, except the olive oil, and start blending everything into a smooth paste. Add the olive oil little by little, until you have the desired texture.
Taste and add more chili, sumac or salt, up to your liking.