This is my version of the Muhammara (or hammara) roasted red pepper & walnut dip I had at the fantastic Lebanese restaurant in Malaga, Samarkanda.
Everything that we ordered was amazing. The hummos was the creamiest I have ever tasted and the baba ghanoush (or mutabak) had that deliciously intense smokiness that I can never replicate at home because I don’t have a gas hob to burn the aubergines over an open flame. The tabouli salad was heavy on the herbs, just how I like it and the cheese briwat (like a samosa) heavenly. The falafels were really good but a step to far I think. We ordered too much as usual, I got a bit excited and wanted everything.
This was the first time I had tried Muhammara in a restaurant. I have made it myself before and used it to stuff these Muhammara & Feta Cigars (gorgeous). Samarkanda’s muhammara was much sweeter than mine and it was lovely because of it. They had used cinnamon and I was desperate to get home and try it, none of the recipes I had seen used cinnamon but it made such a difference t o the flavour.
The restaurant is very unassuming from the outside, which translates as “it doesn’t look great”, the windows could do with a clean but the food is outstanding. I kind of like that, it’s like only the people in the know, know about it. But honestly more people should know about this place, I love it.
So much so that I went back the following week with my friend Caroline, she was desperate to try it after hearing me go on and on about how good the food was. She loved it too, we went for a wander around Malaga first and to Bodega El Pimpi for a little sherry aperitivo, it’s a must on any visit to Malaga and a local institition.
This all coincided very nicely with me picking up ten litres of new gorgeous, green, organic extra virgin olive oil from my friends Andrew & Margarita. They have quite a few olive trees and last year we helped with the olive harvest. You can read about the day and see some photos of how it’s done here.
This year the olives were harvested on the 20th November (election day). The oil is a lot greener and fruitier than last year and it tastes amazing. I was desperate to use it to star in a recipe. This is perfect, the peppers & walnuts are blended to a puree with lots of olive oil and then when you serve it, it is drizzled with more, the fruitiness is lovely with the peppers.
Muhammara – Roasted Pepper & Walnut Dip
Makes 2 small jars, vegan.
Prep time: 10 minutes
- 1 jar (about 250gr) roasted red peppers, buy ones with a few garlic cloves in the jar if you can
- 2 or 3 garlic cloves (if none in the jar with peppers), chopped
- 50 gr (1/3 cup) toasted walnuts, chopped
- 25 gr (2/3 cup)fresh breadcrumbs (I used panko)
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 2 tsp honey (or pomegranate molasses)
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes
- 110 – 165 ml (1/2 -3/4 cup) extra virgin olive oil
- salt & black pepper
- a handful of fresh parsley, chopped
- sesame seeds
Tip the peppers, garlic, breadcrumbs, walnuts, lemon juice, honey, spices, salt & pepper into a food prcessor and blend until smooth. Drizzle the olive oil in slowly and keep blending until you get a consistency you are happy with.
Taste and adjust salt/honey/lemon juice to your liking and stir in the chopped parsley.
Serve at room temperature in a bowl drizzled with more olive oil sprinkled with sesame seeds a few parsley leaves.
Samarkanda Lebanese restaurant is situated in Calle Denis Belgrano 23 in Malaga. You can get directions and more information here. Just to let you know I was in no way paid or reimbursed for writing this review. This represents my honest opinion, gorgeous food, windows could do with a clean though….. ; D