Gülümay’s Walnut-Garlic Spread with Hot and Sweet Peppers and Pomegranate Syrup
This is an utterly delicious spread with lively flavors. It comes from southeast Turkey, where red peppers and cumin seeds are used abundantly and pomegranate syrup is a staple ingredient used as a souring agent. Although there is no real substitute for the sweet and sour flavor of pomegranate syrup, lemon juice will be adequate.
Adapted from Classical Turkish Cooking by Ayla Algar (Harper Perennial 1991).
- Servings Makes about 414 ml (1 3/4 cups)
- 2 large sweet red peppers
- 15 ml (1 tablespoon) water
- 156 ml (⅔ cup) walnuts
- 15 ml (1 tablespoon) crushed garlic
- 156 ml (⅔ cup) toasted sourdough bread crumbs
- 1 or 2 red jalapeños, seeded and minced
- 59 ml (¼ cup) fine olive oil
- 7.5 ml (1½ teaspoons) coarsely ground cumin seeds
- .75 to 2.5 ml (¼ to ½ teaspoons) crushed red pepper flakes
- 10 ml (2 teaspoons) pomegranate syrup
- 30 ml (2 tablespoons) lemon juice
- Roast red peppers over a grill or gas flame, turning frequently until charred all over. Seal 10 minutes in a plastic bag, peel, seed, and shop. In a food processor, mix chopped peppers with 1 tablespoon water. Process to a moist paste. Set aside.
2. Pound walnuts with garlic in a mortar. Stir in bread crumbs and jalapeños. Continue pounding until all ingredients are blended. Mix in the puréed peppers. Gradually mix in the olive oil and season with cumin, red pepper flakes, pomegranate syrup, and lemon juice (use additional lemon juice if pomegranate syrup is unavailable). Taste, and adjust with salt and lemon juice. (Alternatively, you can make the whole dish in a food processor.) Let stand several hours or overnight for the flavors to blend and mature. Serve with croutons or on flatbread wedges or crackers.