Muhammara made with red pepper paste – a really easy version!

I’m always amazed when I get an Armenian Kitchen email from someone I knew from my childhood. One such email reached me recently from John, an old family-friend. I really knew his two older sisters better, as they were closer to my age.

The Armenian Kitchen’s Muhammara  

John asked me for some advice on making muhammara using
commercially prepared red pepper paste which is sold in most Middle Eastern
stores.

John’s request:
“I’m currently attempting to make Muhammara from jarred
pepper paste.  I definitely want to use
your recipe, and was wondering how to equate the 2 eight ounce jars of roasted
red peppers in your recipe to prepared pepper paste.  I was going to make an educated guess, but
then thought it would be better to check with you.”


My Response:
“I see no reason why you couldn’t make it using red pepper
paste. I would suggest experimenting a bit.
The paste would have to be thinned-out with some water to a
spreadable, rather than a pourable consistency. Since the paste is generally
made with only red peppers and salt (unless it’s the hot version), combine the
thinned paste with the rest of the ingredients that are listed in the recipe.
It’s best made in advance so the flavors can blend.”




After making the modified-version muhammara, John wrote:
“Made the muhammara today for a party tomorrow.  Used toasted pine nuts as well as a handful
of walnuts, panko, thick cherry balsamic (substitute for pomegranate), lemon
juice, olive oil, water, and a jar of spicy pepper paste (700g or 1lb 8.6 oz.).  The muhammara tastes good, and seems to
improve by the hour.  Will send you a
photo (in serving dish) tomorrow.”

After the party, John sent me the photo of the finished
product (see below), and guest evaluation.
John’s Muhammara made with jarred red pepper paste

























Here’s what he said:
“The muhammara was much redder in person (than in the
photo). The guests did like it, despite vying for attention with two types of
homemade hummus as well as string cheese. 



I don’t think I put enough water in the muhammara – it
became a little too thick over night, probably because of the panko.  Lesson learned.  But, the taste was great.  Thanks for the coaching!”
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