Muhammara & Mushrooms

Muhammara & Mushrooms is a perfect amalgamation of roasted red peppers, walnuts, breadcrumbs, garlic, and a splash of pomegranate molasses.
This vibrant, earthy, and slightly sweet spread is traditionally enjoyed with bread or vegetables. However, when paired with mushrooms, it opens up a whole new dimension of culinary delight.
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Prep Time 55 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Course Culinary Collection
Cuisine Indian
Servings 6

Ingredients
  

For the muhammara:

  • 4 large red bell peppers
  • 100 g walnuts
  • 30 g fresh breadcrumbs
  • 1 tbsp Aleppo pepper
  • 50ml lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • ½ tsp sweet smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp pomegranate molasses
  • 2 tbsp olive oil 

For the mushrooms:

  • 500 g Portabellini mushrooms thickly sliced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp soy  sauce
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 small chilli  finely diced 
  • 2 tbsp fresh coriander chopped 

To serve:

  • 6 pita breads / flatbreads warmed & charred 
  • Mixed olives
  • Pickled onions 
  • Salt and pepper to taste 

Instructions
 

For the Muhammara:

  • Heat the oven on grill and move the rack to the upper third.  
  • Slice the bell peppers into quarters, discarding the core and cutting out any white veins. 
  • Rub them with a little olive oil and place on a baking tray. 
  • Grill in the oven, until skins are very charred and flesh is softened, about 15 minutes. 
  • Transfer bell peppers to a bowl and cover tightly with cling-film so they can steam.
  • When cool enough to handle, peel and discard the skins. 
  • Lightly toast walnuts in a dry pan. 
  • Keep a small handful (about 20g) aside to crumble on top of the dip before serving. 
  • Stir in all the spices, and cook for another minute, while stirring constantly until very fragrant.
  • Pour in the tinned tomatoes and sugar.
  • Increase the heat to a simmer. 
  • Add the chickpeas and cook, maintaining a gentle simmer, for about 10-15 minutes, allowing the flavours to develop and the sauce to thicken. 
  • Pulse bell peppers, toasted walnuts, breadcrumbs, Aleppo pepper, lemon juice, tahini, paprika, pomegranate molasses and olive oil in a food processor until mostly smooth.
  • Season muhammara lightly with salt.
  • Plate in a shallow bowl and finish with reserved crumbled walnuts, a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of Aleppo pepper. 

For the mushrooms: 

  • Place mushrooms in a mixing bowl. 
  • Drizzle with the olive oil, soy sauce and balsamic. 
  • Scatter over the garlic, chilli and freshly ground black pepper. 
  • Toss to coat the mushrooms well in the mixture. 
  • Preheat air fryer to 190˚C. 
  • Place mushrooms in the air fryer basket and air fry for 4-5 minutes, depending on their size. 
  • When golden brown and tender remove from the air fryer. 
  • The mushroom cooking juices that accumulate in the bottom of the air fryer make an excellent dressing/sauce.