When my friend asked me last week if this was muhammara before eating it, I said no. Or kind of no. We used to call it çemen back at home. But then some people say that çemen is something else. This is not exactly muhammara either! So what is that dish?? Well, here is definition: this is a walnut / paprika spread with spices which resembles muhammara, with the recipe coming from mum! I will call it, “le spread”.
We had this spread quite often at home when I was a kid. I could never stop eating it once I started, and in the end I would get itchy and mildly allergic for a few days because of all the spices and pastes. So here is a lesson: do not overeat it!
The spread is perfect for breakfast, for open sandwiches. But you can also make mini snacks with it and serve in other occasions. It tastes great spread on bread or some crackers all by itself as it is very rich on its own. But you can also combine it with other things, like cheese for example (especially feta cheese). For this blog post I made an open sandwich on whole wheat bread with le spread and avocado.
So make whatever combination you like and enjoy the recipe – I mean, le spread!
(serves 4 – make it the day before and put in the fridge for the best taste)
Printable PDF version, no photos:
4 tbsp bread crumbs (Finnish: korppujauho)
4 tbsp paprika paste (you can find this in ethnic supermarkets mostly)
4 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 cup / 8 tbsp crushed walnuts (I do not like it too ground like a powder, but if you want, you can crush the walnuts very very smooth too)
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp dried mint
8 garlic cloves, crushed (sorry, forgot to add in the picture!)
3/4 cup / 12 tbsp olive oil (more or less, see below)
2 open sandwich ideas:
A slice of bread with this spread, topped with avocado chunks, mixed with lemon juice, salt and pepper (all three to taste)
A slice of bread with this spread, topped with crumbled feta cheese or Turkish white cheese
1. In a medium bowl, or a plate like I used, put all the ingredients except olive oil. Mix them well with a spoon, until you have a paste like texture. You might want to press it with the back of the spoon while mixing.
2. Add olive oil slowly. In my version the olive oil amount was just enough, however, if you want to keep it more crumbly or instead if you want it even more spreadable, you can change the amount of olive oil accordingly. Put the spread in a storage box and in the fridge for a day for the flavours to develop better.