Since TwinnyDip's recent trip to Japan, Kabocha - Japanese pumpkin (or various squashes, owing to Kabocha being unavailable in most supermarkets in the UK) stewed in miso-mirin-ginger has been an obsession of ours. Though, after making yet another batch of Kabocha no nimono (see recipe here), it was time to dream up something new and different.
On a recent trip to Dubai, we have discovered that there is something beyond the deliciously smooth and satisfying hummus, smoky moutabel (burnt aubergine dip) and silky labneh (strained yoghurt) - Muhammara. Muhammara is a Syrian red pepper and walnut dip sweetened with pomegranate molasses and flavoured with spices. It can be served hot or cold with pita, bread or vegetable crudites, and is also great as a condiment to grill meat dishes!
So, here we present to you our twist on Muhammara - using butternut squash (you can also use other squashes or pumpkin, sweet potatoes etc) as the base and a few alternative ingredients!
550g butternut squash flesh (skin on), cut into chunks
1 clove of garlic, skin removed and lightly crushed
1 slice (about 25 - 30g) of bread, toasted and torn into pieces
55g walnuts, toasted
1 lime, juice only
1 tbsp agave syrup (for vegan version) or honey or other sweeteners
1 tsp smoked paprika
a small pinch of chili flakes, to taste
a pinch of cumin, to taste
A pinch of salt, to taste
1 - 2 tbsp olive oil
1. Steam butternut squash along with garlic clove for 20 - 25 minutes or brush butternut squash and garlic with oil and roast in oven at 180C for 45 minutes until tender. Set aside until cool enough to handle, then scoop out the flesh from the skin and transfer flesh and garlic to blender.
2. Add toast, walnuts, lime juice, agave syrup, smoked paprika, chili flakes, cumin, salt, and 1 tbsp olive oil to the blender. Blitz until smooth. Add more olive oil as desire.
3. Serve with pita or crudites, or as a canape - spread the dip on blinis or crispbread then topped with tomato slices and fresh herbs (such as basil or mint)!