the appetizer:

Though Turkish cuisine is a fusion of Turk, Arabic, Persian, Central Asian and Greek cuisines, there are also many regional differences in Turkey's cooking, from the Black Sea's corn and fish to the eastern region's mezes and kebabs.

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Muhammara (an appetizer)

Serves 8

2 large red bell peppers
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons hot pepper paste*
3/4 cup bread crumbs, toasted
3/4 cup walnuts, ground
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons pomegranate syrup
1 tablespoon yogurt
1-2 teaspoons cumin seeds, coarsely ground
Salt to taste
1/4 cup olive oil
Turkish flat bread, or pide

Roast peppers over a flame until the skin is blackened. Put in a tightly closed paper bag for 10 minutes. Then remove the skin and seeds, and mash the peppers in a food processor. Set aside. Mix together the garlic, onion, hot pepper paste, bread crumbs and walnuts. When well mixed, add the lemon juice and pomegranate syrup. Add the yogurt and cumin, and salt to taste. Slowly add the olive oil and blend well. For a richer flavor, make a day ahead. Keeps well for up to 2 days in the refrigerator. Serve at room temperature on pieces of Turkish flat bread, pide, or plain crackers.

*Can substitute with a jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely chopped, or 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper.


From Eat Smart In Turkey. Reprinted by permission of Ginkgo Press.


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This page modified January 2007