Muhammara is a classic Turkish dip made from roasted capsicum and walnuts. I finely chops the ingredients for the muhammara using a Turkish zirkh, a very large mezzaluna-style knife that preserves the fresh taste of the capsicum, but you can use a mezzaluna, regular knife or food processor, too.
- 85 g (about ¼ packet) kadayifli (kataifi) pastry (see Note)
- 2 tbsp ghee (clarified butter), melted
- 1 orange, zested, plus 1 tbsp orange juice
- 8 large green king prawns, peeled with tails intact, cleaned
- pomegranate seeds and sumac, to garnish
- ½ garlic bulb, unpeeled
- 2 red capsicums or 4 red bullhorn peppers
- 125 g (1¼ cups) walnuts, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp pomegranate molasses (see Note)
- 2 tbsp biber salçasi (Turkish red capsicum paste) (see Note)
- 3 tsp isot chilli flakes (see Note)
- 80 ml (⅓ cup) olive oil
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Preheat oven to 210°C.
To make muhammara, using tongs, hold garlic and capsicums directly over a gas flame, turning until blackened all over. Transfer to a bowl, cool slightly, then rub off charred garlic and capsicum skins. Carefully cut open capsicums, discard seeds and chop flesh. Place in a food processor with garlic, walnuts, pomegranate molasses, biber salçasi, chilli, oil and 2 tbsp water and process to a coarse paste.
Place pastry in a bowl. Combine ghee, orange zest and juice. Pour over pastry and toss to combine.
Using your hands, divide the pastry into 8 portions. Starting from the prawn tail end, wrap 1 portion tightly around each prawn in a single, even layer.
Place prawns on a lined oven tray and bake, turning halfway, for 10 minutes or until the pastry is crisp and the prawns are just cooked.
Serve the prawns with the muhammara and pomegranate seeds and sumac scattered over.
• Kataifi pastry is from the refrigerated section of selected supermarkets and Middle Eastern food shops. Freeze any leftovers in a snaplock bag for up to 1 month.
• Pomegranate molasses is available from delis and Middle Eastern food shops.
• Biber salçasi is a Turkish capsicum paste from selected delis and Turkish food shops. Use a mild one for this dish.
• Isot or Urfa chilli flakes, from Turkish food shops, are mild, slightly smoky and purplish-black. Substitute coarsely ground chilli (with no seeds) from Asian food shops or regular chilli flakes (with seeds).
Somer Sivrioglu is the head chef at Anason and Efendy. This recipe is from The Chefs' Line - a brand new series airing weeknights at 6pm on SBS. Can the passion of a home cook beat the skills of a professional chef? Missed all the action? Catch-up online and get all the recipes #TheChefsLine.
This recipe originally appeared in Feast magazine (Issue 8, p91); it may differ slightly from the version that appears in series.