Fancy A Dip?

Sometimes I think that cloning is the only way forward.

I’d go all out and order a job lot of 12 clones of myself, which might be just enough to go around. I would place one of those clones exclusively on blog-reading duty, so that I could properly keep up with all of the other blogs that I (attempt to) read. What bliss that would be.

Now before I go any further, I know that the astute among you will point out that your average spud already develops by cloning, in which case I want to know where the other 11 daily spuds have got to. A little phone call every now and then wouldn’t hurt, would it?

Meanwhile it’s just me, myself and I, snatching a few hours here and there in an attempt to take in what the populace of blogland is up to. What’s interesting, what’s new or old-but-new-to-me, what’s entertaining, what’s challenging, what’s something that I must try someday, what’s something that I’d simply never have thought of and what’s something that requires that I drop everything and go make it. I had one of those drop-everything moments this weekend when I read The Duo Dishes post about Muhammara. Er, moo who?

Muhammara

Drop everything and take a dip

Muhammara is a middle eastern dip involving roasted red peppers. I can’t put my finger on quite what it was that provoked such an immediate reaction, leading me to leave the building get dressed properly and then leave the building in search of red peppers. Perhaps it was a minor rebellion against the vegetables in the garden – I mean, I love ya lads but I also need a little variety in my diet.

So it was that peppers were acquired and roasted, a taster batch of the dip made and eaten almost as quickly. I had been right to drop everything. I had a new favourite thing to make.

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Muhammara

This is ever so slightly adapted from The Duo Dishes, who, in turn, adapted it from Ellie Krieger. Recipes are like that.

A word about pomegranate molasses, which is basically concentrated pomegranate juice. It’s syrupy and tangy and makes a lovely addition to this dip (in fact, you might like to add more than specified) but don’t let the fact that you don’t have any put you off. You could try adding some pomegranate juice instead or try either tamarind paste or amchoor (dried mango powder) which seem to me to have a similar tang. Or you can just leave it out. It’ll still be tasty.

As for the roasted red peppers, you can, of course, buy a jar of same and be done with it. On the other hand, you can go all out and roast your own (see below) which will be even nicer.

On the garlic front, I tend to steer clear of using a lot of raw garlic, so I used less than the Duo (and also tried substituting roasted garlic, which is a lot mellower). Feel free to increase the garlic content if that’s your thing.

You’ll need:
  • 500g roasted peppers (see below)
  • 75g walnuts
  • 1 clove raw garlic or 6 cloves roasted garlic (see below)
  • 3 tblsp breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp pomegranate molasses
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 0.25 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 0.25 tsp cinnamon
  • 0.5 tsp cumin
  • 2 tblsp olive oil
  • coarse salt to taste
The Steps:
  • Put the walnuts and raw garlic, if using, in a food processor and blend until they resemble fine crumbs.
  • Add the roasted peppers, roasted garlic (if using) and breadcrumbs and blend until the mixture forms a paste.
  • Add the cayenne, cinnamon, cumin, lemon zest and juice and pomegranate molasses and blend until incorporated.
  • Drizzle in the olive oil until smooth, adding more if necessary to reach a consistency you like.
  • Add coarse salt to taste.
  • Grab some pita breads and eat.
The Variations:
  • The first time I made this, I actually used a bit less than half the amount of roasted peppers specified (only because I roasted the peppers myself and forgot to account for the fact that they lose a lot of weight through roasting). However I liked that version a lot – it’s less overtly peppery and still very tasty.
The Results:
  • Chances are that this will make less than you’ll want to eat.
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Roasted Red Peppers

There is endless instruction to be had on the internet about how to roast peppers and you’ll find a number of different schools of thought. Some tell you to hold the peppers directly over an open flame (on your gas hob or other flame throwing device), charring the pepper very well on all sides. Some say to char the peppers under your grill element / broiler. Others just roast them in the oven and still others use variations involving a combination of the above. Now, I haven’t spent ages trying out all the different methods but let me just say that the oven method works for me. Not least because I do not have a gas hob, so access to an open flame presents certain logistical difficulties. It’s also easier to use the oven if you’ve got lots of peppers to roast.

You’ll need:
  • As many peppers as you want to roast
The Steps:
  • Preheat your oven to 180C
  • Leave your peppers whole and place them in the oven on one or more baking sheets (which you can line with foil if you want to avoid some mess later).
  • Roast the peppers for around 45 minutes or until they start to blister and blacken in parts, turning them over occasionally.
  • Remove from the oven and either place the peppers into a bowl and cover with cling film or into a plastic bag and seal. You want to leave them like that for at least 15 or 20 minutes, until they have cooled enough to handle and the trapped steam will have helped to loosen the skins.
  • Now drain the peppers and slice them open, scraping out the seeds and slipping the skin off. This part is sticky and messy, but the results are worth it.
The Results:
  • If you’re aiming to end up with a certain weight of roasted peppers, you’ll need to start with slightly more than double that weight of raw peppers. So, to end up with 500g of roast peppers, you’d need to start with around 1.1kg of raw peppers
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Roasted Garlic

You’ll need:
  • As many heads of garlic as you want to roast
  • Olive oil
You’ll also need:
  • Aluminum foil
The Steps:
  • Preheat your oven to 180C
  • Remove the outer papery bits of the garlic skin and slice off the top of each head so that the tops of the cloves are exposed.
  • Wrap each head in a piece of foil, pouring a little olive oil over the garlic before closing the foil over.
  • Place in the oven until the cloves are soft – 30-40 minutes or more, depending on your oven. The cloves should slip out easily from their skins when done.
  • Add to dips or try adding a few roasted cloves next time you’re mashing spuds.
The Results:
  • As much roasted garlic as you require for your dining pleasure.
Comments
  • Muhammarais so wonderful and savory, love that dip. Have you tried it as a spud topper?

    If you happen to have any surplus cloned spuds, can you send them my way, especially if they look like oysters. I have been trying to get sophisticated and now have most all the blogs I follow on RSS feed, and its downright intimidating. I try to keep up, but if I don’t the number continue to climb and then more numbers pop up. But I wouldn’t miss reading and learning from them for the world.

  • Ahhhh, the muha dip is a success! Freshly roasted peppers would’ve topped this off for sure, you are right. Glad you enjoyed, and also happy you made more tweaks!

  • Oyster Culture: I will be trying this as a spud topper in the very near future, that’s for sure. And I know exactly the feeling re: the ever-expanding feed reader – it can be intimidating but a treasure trove also.

    Duo Dishes: well, thank you for posting in the first place, loved it!

  • Cloning is not so horrible believe me I have been through it. It’s pricey sure, but when you see that line of Gregs all standing in a row awaiting my command you really see that it’s money well spent. The odd thing is they all seem to be a bit better looking than Sup! Remind me to speak to that Doctor about that!

    It’s similar to your muhumarra. Each generation is as delicious as the the original, but some are just a bit better looking. I eat muhumarra regularly at a Hollywood restaurant. It’s not as pretty as yours because it has got pomegranate seeds ground up in it, and I am not sure if there is all that much red pepper. But like your clone it’s delicious. GREG

  • Sounds tasty–good luck with that cloning thing!

    You can make your own pom molasses just by slowly reducing pom juice to a syrup. Although some folks might consider that a little OCD. Just sayin’…

  • I remember seeing this over a Duo Dishes. Looks so good. I have some fresh baguette that I made, care to pass some of the dip my way?

  • Could you send one of your extra clones to help me catch up on my blog reading?! Luckily, I stumbled across your lovely picture on Food & Fizz before it was too late! I love this idea, and will definitely try it next time I have some red peppers.

  • Reading blogs and then commenting on them is a full-time job! Only problem is, I already have a full-time job! I have sucked at it lately, but I am trying. Either way, this dip looks great. I am a big fan of roasted garlic simply for how it makes the house smell. Delish and yummy!

  • gorgeous dip and the colour’s swell :) this is not great for me now though because it’s dinner time and i’m starving and there ain’t food on the table yet :(

  • Without the addition of pomegranate molasses and cinnamon it is a greek pepper salad. Delicious dip, both ways.

  • I love the gorgeous color of this delicious dip! I need to try this too!

  • I love roasted red peppers dips!!!! I love that you roasted them yourself!
    Looks truly lovely!!

  • I saw your pic on tastespotting and the swirling effect is hypnotizing and draws you in. I want to dip my finger in there.

    My feeling on roasting peppers is that it works both on top of the stove (if you have flame) and under the broiler. For me, it just depends on how much I’m doing. For 1-3 peppers, I do it on top of the stove. For more, I break out a sheet tray and do it under the broiler.

  • This looks incredibly good. That color is gorgeous!

  • I’ve made this dip too and it is soo good! I love the pic you got. I think the pom molasses just really adds something to this. delicious!

  • Your muhummara looks great! It makes such a good snack, and I’ve come to really love pomegranate molasses.

  • No wonder you went nuts – yours looks so fantastic I want to make some now. Perfect on that bread, just slathered slice after slathered slice (oh, dip you said? I would slather it!). Just beautiful!

  • What a fabulous reason for me to finally buy that bottle of pomegranate molasses! Gorgeous photo and fab recipe (hubby will enjoy being the guinea pig with this one)

  • SippitySup: I don’t much care how it looks, a version with ground up pomegranate seeds sound like I would want to eat it – maybe I’ll join you & your clones for dinner in Hollywood some day!

    Jenni: ah, well that makes sense of course, given that it’s just concentrated fruit juice – I’ll let my OCD clone handle that one :)

    jenn: sure thing – now if you could just send some of that fresh baguette my way…

    Mindy: if I work out the cloning thing, I’ll be sure to send one your way :)

    GrilledShane: yeah, the whole blog thing can certainly feel like a full time job in itself – it can be hard to juggle everything, especially when all you want to do is go and roast some garlic :)

    diva: thanks for dropping by and sorry that it caught you at a hungry time!

    History of Greek Food: ah, interesting to know that and, yes, definitely delicious either way

    Natasha: it does both look and taste great – it will be a must next time I have guests over

    Sophie: thanks & welcome back from your holiday!

    Jessica: welcome & thank you – the dip does rather invite you in doesn’t it? :) I might try doing the peppers under the grill next time and see how that compares

    Carrie: why thanks for your comment and thanks for stopping by – I can assure you that the dip tastes every bit as good as it looks :)

    Mary Ann: thanks for dropping in and, yes, I have to say that I do really like the pom molasses in this

    lisaiscooking: thanks – it is a great snack and I reckon that it could become a regular feature around here

    Jamie: you’re right, slather is a much better verb to apply in this case, because that’s exactly what I did with it…

    Phyllis: funnily enough, I bought the bottle of pomegranate molasses a while back, obviously intending to use it in some recipe or other and then never did – so this was my first time to use it, but definitely not my last!

  • I commiserate re: blog reading. Case in point: you know I’m a devoted fan but see how it takes me a couple of days to scroll around for some Spud-reading?

    This dip looks divine and I appreciate the tip about tamarind; I actually have that more readily on hand than pomegranate anything. As for roasting peppers, I’m of the twist-and-open mindset. 8-D

  • I rather fancy a dip right now. They all sound fabulous and that photo is stunning.

    You have an amazing blog here :) I’m going to add you to my blogroll.

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  • I’ve heard the name of this dip many times, but didn’t have an idea how it is. I love roasted red bell pepper and garlic and walnut. I would definitely have tried this right now if I hadn’t stuffed the red bell peppers an hour ago. But I’ll buy the new ones from the local market a few days later, and try it.

  • This looks really nice. Is it similar to the red pepper dip you get in “CafĂ© Bar Deli”, I wonder? If it is, I’m making it… Love that stuff.

  • Tangled Noodle: y’know, everything-from-first-principles is great if you have the time, but twist and open works too…

    George: Why thank you, am flattered! Thanks so much for dropping in.

    zerrin: I’m sure you’ll love it

    Toasted Special: can’t say that I’ve had the Cafe Bar Deli red pepper dip recently, so not sure how this compares tastewise – you could just take a chance, make the dip anyway and see how it compares for yourself :)

  • [...] aroma reminiscent of fruity tobacco. Oz had used some in her muhammara (and I’ll put some in mine next time too) but mostly I was thinking, hello Mr. Pepper, you’d be right at home with some [...]

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