Fellow readers and fellow schemers,
Here is the first guest entry this blog has every seen. It has been written by my dear friend Nandini, my co-chefspirator. Love you to bits for doing this! We will try for a picture soon. Meanwhile, please make this and make your life much better.
Muhammara with a Twirl!
First, you put on some music. Any kind. It helps kickstart the creative process, lifts your mood and sets your body in motion. Three great reasons as far as I am concerned. My choice that day was Santana and his music soon took me to another plane.
My feet were dancing as I went around gathering my ingredients. Try juggling three red peppers – it’s not easy, especially if you are as clutzy as I am. They should be blood-red and firm and fresh to the touch. If you have any leftover yellow peppers (as I had that day), that too can be added. Wash and wipe. Cut into thick strips, scooping out the innards carefully. I don’t waste any of it, including the “nose” near the stalk. Put aside all the unusable portions (like seeds, stalk etc) for composting later.
Bring out the oven tray and swirl it flamboyantly with olive oil. In my head, the more the olive oil, the best the taste. Place the peppers in the oven at about 180-190°C. Step back and wait for them to roast, the aroma slowly filling the entire room. Turn the vegetables over once or twice in between so the strips get evenly grilled. That should take about 15 minutes. Meanwhile in a saucepan, toast walnuts, sunflower seeds and flax seeds (the latter in lesser quantity than the other seeds). Blend all these together with olive oil for a tahine that’s a little … hatke.
Ding! The peppers are done. Gently scoop them out, along with their juices, a dash of cumin powder for an added zing, chili flakes or black pepper (you pick your poison) and blend it all together with the tahini. Once it’s done, add fresh lime juice to the dip. Top the deep orange Muhammara with a jaunty sprig of something green (parsley or coriander, just for colour) and it is ready to go! Warm up some pita with olive oil, cut it on a plate into triangles and place the dip in a tiny little dish in the middle of the pita. Twirl around one last time to the insistent drumbeat. Voila, your dish is ready!
Santana’s guitar riffs, warm pita and Muhammara – could life get any better?!