Muhammara & Zhoug Mezze

Muhammara & Zhoug Mezze

Countires around the Mediterranean Sea have always had light lunches and suppers covered when it comes to the – now increasingly hot – summer months. From Greece to Lebanon, families and friends sit around a meze – or mezze – table . A mezze can be whatever you want it be: from a simple affair consisting of a few salad ingredients and dips to a vast spread. My mezze stars are the rich, warm muhammara and the bright, tangy zhoug – but there are plenty more little dishes to pique your interest and appetite:

Muttabal/ Baba Ganoush
Skordalia (Greece)
Tzatziki (Greece, Syria, Turkey, Lebanon)
Burnt aubergine and red pepper salad
Grilled onions with pomegranate dressing
Raw beetroot with pistachio sauce

The warm heat from the Aleppo peppers is a must for me but there are a few alternatives from the region to try; marsh pepper, which is a little smokier and hotter; and Antebi pepper with its fruity milder heat.


1x 290gram jar of Pimiento de Piquillo
120g shelled walnuts
1 tsp Aleppo chilli flakes
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp pomegranate molases
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
sea salt


1 bunch fresh coriander – leaves and tender stalks ( ~50 grams)
2 jalapeños; seeds removed
½ tsp Aleppo chilli flakes
1 tsp ground cardamon seeds
¾ tsp ground cumin
2 fat cloves garlic
1 tbsp lemon juice
50ml Olive oil
sea salt


For the muhammara, Salt by toasting the cumin in a small dry pan until you can start to smell the oils being released – remove from the heat immediately and grind in a pestle and mortar. Then drain the jar of pimientos and place in a food processor or blender. If pimiento piquillos are not available in your neck of the woods, roast a large red pepper; leave to cool, remove the skin and seed pod. Add the remaining ingredients , pulse to a smooth paste and season to taste. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkle of Aleppo flakes and a few crushed walnuts.

For the zhoug, If you are using whole spices – cumin and cardamon seeds, lightly toast and grind (see above). Add all the ingredients – except the olive oil and lemon juice – to a food processor or blender and pulse to a coarse paste. Pour in the oil and the lemon juice and pulse a little more. If you like your zhoug a little thinner, you can add a little more oil. Once you have the consistency you desire, season to taste.

For my light supper mezze, I served my muhammara and zhoug alongside fried halloumi (squeaky cheese), altramuces; and a salad of cherry tomatoes, alficoz, and sliced radishes.

James and the flat peach x

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