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muhammara copy

I wrote my Lebanese cookbook 20 years ago and when I did, I wanted to include a recipe for muhammara except that my mother didn’t have one. I then found a recipe in Ibrahim Mouzannar’s book but it was not like the muhammara I knew and loved — I think he suggests using burghul instead of breadcrumbs. A few months later, I found a good version at a Lebanese shop on Kensington High Street — long gone now — but they wouldn’t part with their recipe! As a result, I never included one in my book. But I kept looking until I finally found three good recipes, the one I give below, a classic Aleppine version which is posted later today on Design Sponge in their ‘In the Kitchen with’ section and a third one which was published in Food & Wine magazine a few years ago and which I had learned from Mohamed Antabli, chef/owner of Al-Waha. The one below is made with grilled peppers and the one on Design Sponge with pepper paste — I bring mine back from Aleppo or Gaziantep but you can find decent commercial pastes in Turkish shops. I sometimes bake mastic-flavoured crackers to serve with my dips and I also give a recipe for them here.

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hommus khawali-finished & plated copy

Today world leaders have finally called on the lion to step down. Let’s hope he does, and without delay although I am not holding my breath. Anyhow, it is a significant development and to celebrate I decided to give you a recipe from my favourite restaurant in Damascus, Khawali, for one of the best hommus ever. The Syrians don’t put garlic in hommus and if they do, they also add chopped parsley and call it hommus Beiruti. At Khawali they have the regular version and their own hommus Khawali to which they add pepper paste and pomegranate syrup.

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