Muhammara, also known as Acuka in Turkish, is a delicious Middle Eastern dip made with red pepper paste, garlic, walnuts, spices, and olive oil.
It is extremely easy to prepare and is ready in 15 minutes with minimal cleaning up!
This spicy and aromatic dip is also known as Ajika (or Adjika) in Russia and Georgia.
It is also perfect as a part of a mezze platter, for making sandwiches, or for serving with roasted meat and fish.
What is Muhammara?
Muhammara is a popular Middle Eastern/Turkish dip made with red pepper paste, walnuts, breadcrumbs, garlic, spices, and olive oil.
This versatile dish is also known as acuka, adjika, or ajika and can be served as an appetizer, meze, dip, spread, or sauce.
Muhammara is similar to red pepper pesto and might contain roasted red pepper or red pepper paste, depending on the region.
I prefer using red pepper paste because it intensifies the flavor and saves me time.
However, you can use roasted red peppers instead for a lighter taste and smoother texture.
In some parts of Syria and Lebanon, for example, the dip is made with pomegranate molasses, while in other areas, it's made with hot pepper paste.
Why This Recipe Works?
- Muhammara is very easy to prepare and ready in just 15 minutes.
- The leftovers will keep for up to two weeks when refrigerated in an airtight container or in a jar.
- Just like Mutabal (Roasted Eggplant Dip), Muhammara is a versatile dish that you can serve as a spread, dip, appetizer, mezze, or sauce.
- You can play around with ingredients by adding or removing ingredients and creating your own version of Muhammara dip.
Ingredients You'll Need
Please scroll down to the recipe card below for the full ingredients list with measurements, complete recipe method, recipe notes, and nutritional information.
- Pepper paste - Turkish red pepper paste is a rich, delicious paste made with juicy, spicy red peppers and I use it quite often in my Turkish recipes. You can buy it from Turkish or Middle Eastern shops or online from . You can substitute it with jarred or freshly roasted red peppers. However, your Muhammara will have a lighter taste and a smoother texture.
- Tomato paste - It mellows the flavor profile and adds sweetness as well as adding bright red color. You can find it in Turkish or Middle Eastern shops. You can also buy it from .
- Walnuts - They are one of the key ingredients for the Muhammara (acuka/adjika) recipe. Walnuts add texture and nutty flavor to this deliciously spiced dip. Lightly toast them before using them to intensify the flavor.
- Breadcrumbs - They add extra texture and body to the spread. Leave them out to make this delicious dip gluten-free.
- Spices - I use paprika, chili flakes, cajun spices, and thyme for making Muhammara dip. You can adjust the amount to your taste, or add your favorite spices.
How To Make Muhammara?
Muhammara-Acuka (Red Pepper Dip) is extremely easy to make and requires a few pantry ingredients.
However, to achieve the best results, you need to follow a few simple steps:
Place a pan over medium heat and add the olive oil.
Add the red pepper paste and tomato paste to the pan and cook together for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
If you want to add roasted red peppers to your Muhammara, blitz 2 large roasted red peppers and reduce the amount of red pepper paste by half.
Add blitzed peppers to the pan along with the red pepper paste and tomato paste.
Stir in the garlic, chili, paprika, sesame seeds, cajun spices, and thyme, and sauté together for another minute.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the breadcrumbs along with the walnuts.
Let the mixture cool down before transferring it to a serving dish.
Top Tips From the Chef
- Lightly toast the walnuts before using them to intensify the flavor.
- Substitute red pepper paste with jarred or freshly roasted red peppers. However, your Muhammara will have a lighter taste and a smoother texture.
- Leave the breadcrumbs out to make this delicious dip gluten-free.
- Check the seasoning before adding the salt as most of the ready-made tomato paste and red pepper paste contains some salt already.
How to Use Muhammara?
Muhammara is a versatile dip that can be used in a variety of ways. Here are some popular ways to use it:
- As a Dip - Just like Homemade Labneh (Yogurt Cheese), Muhammara is often served as a dip along with some crackers or Pita Bread. It pairs particularly well with crudité platters that feature fresh vegetables like carrots, cucumber, and bell pepper.
- As a Spread - Muhammara can be used as a spread on sandwiches, wraps, or even burgers. It adds a deliciously spicy and nutty flavor to any dish. My favorite way to serve it is as a breakfast spread along with tangy feta cheese
- As a Sauce - Muhammara can be used as a sauce for Grilled Lamb Kofta, Baked Sea Bass, or Honey Roasted Carrots and Parsnips. It's a great way to add flavor and complexity to your dishes.
- As a Pizza Topping - Muhammara can be used as a pizza topping instead of tomato sauce. Top your pizza with muhammara, roasted vegetables, and cheese for a delicious and unique twist on traditional pizza.
- As a Mezze - Muhammara - Acuka (or Adjika) will be a delicious addition to your dips and mezze selection.
To store Muhammara, transfer it to an airtight container and refrigerate it.
It will keep well in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
If you want to keep it for longer, muhammara can also be frozen for up to 3 months.
To thaw frozen muhammara, simply transfer it to the refrigerator and let it thaw overnight.
Before serving, give it a good stir to ensure the texture is smooth and creamy.
Yes, you can add roasted red peppers to your acuka mixture and leave the red pepper paste out.
Simply blitz them before adding them to the pan with olive oil and tomato paste.
Alternatively, you can use red peppers and red pepper paste together.
They all will give you a different taste and texture so you can experience and decide what works best for you.
Muhammara can be spicy, depending on the amount and type of spices used in the recipe.
However, it's also possible to make a milder version by reducing the amount of spice.
Yes, Muhammara can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. It can also be frozen for up to 3 months.
For more delicious dip and spread recipes why not try:
I hope you enjoy the process of making this delicious Muhammara (or Ajika) Dip as much as you enjoy eating it! 🙂
Bon appétit! / Afiyet Olsun!
Muhammara (Red Pepper Dip)
- 4 tablespoon red pepper paste (or 2 tablespoon red pepper paste+2 large roasted red peppers)
- 3 tablespoon tomato paste
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic (minced)
- 100 g walnuts (finely chopped)
- 15 g breadcrumbs
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
- 1 teaspoon chili flakes
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme or oregano
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon cajun spices
- Place a pan over medium heat and add the olive oil.
- Add the red pepper paste and tomato paste to the pan and cook together for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
- If you want to add roasted red peppers to your Muhammara, blitz 2 large roasted red peppers and reduce the amount of red pepper paste by half. Add it to the pan along with the tomato paste and red pepper paste.
- Stir in the garlic, chili, paprika, sesame seeds, cajun spices, and thyme, and sauté together for another minute.
- Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the breadcrumbs along with the walnuts.
- Let the mixture cool down before transferring it to a serving dish.
- Lightly toast the walnuts before using for intensifying the flavour.
- You can substitute red pepper paste with jarred or freshly roasted red peppers. However, your Muhammara will have a lighter taste and a smoother texture.
- Leave the breadcrumbs out for making this delicious dip gluten free.
- The leftovers of this dip will keep for up to two weeks when refrigerated in an airtight container or in a jar.
- It is a versatile dish, you can serve this spicy Acuka as a spread, dip, appetizer, mezze, or sauce.
- Check the seasoning before adding the salt as most of the ready made tomato paste and red pepper paste contains some salt already.
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