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muhammara options?

czarp Jul 6, 2011 05:53 PM

Really like it, or at least I think I do -- I've only had one kind: Samira's, which is readily available at Whole Foods, Russo's, and farmer's markets.

Are there other muhammaras that are commercially available? Or are there restaurants that make their own muhammara that is really good? And how do they differ from Samira's rendition?

  1. lipoff Jul 8, 2011 10:29 PM

    My favorite is the version at Massi's Bakery.

    1. m
      mvi Jul 7, 2011 06:09 PM

      Sofra and Arax provided my introduction to muhammarra but now I make my own as it is so easy to do. You can add agave nectar if you don't want to make or buy the pomegranate molasses but it won't be quite the same. None the less, it is very tasty. It is my favorite thing to bring to pot lucks and parties. People go nuts over it.

      1 Belmont St, Cambridge, MA 02138

      9 Replies
      1. re: mvi
        StriperGuy Jul 7, 2011 06:27 PM

        You cannot sub agave junk for the pomegranate molasses and still call it muhammarra. Why on earth's name would you want to? Agave nectar is just fructose anyhow, do NOT understand the fascination with that stuff...

        1. re: StriperGuy
          mvi Jul 7, 2011 06:39 PM

          Geez, Striper, where's the hate? Lighten up. Good grief. My first recipe for muhammarra actually called for agave and I did not know any better. I had some, so I made it. I liked it. I do not always have pomegranate molasses around the house. Wish I did, but I don't. Did I say I was fascinated with agave? No.

          Czarp, if you are ever near the Copley Farmers Market, Sofra shows up there and they have their muhammarra.

          1 Belmont St, Cambridge, MA 02138

          1. re: mvi
            StriperGuy Jul 7, 2011 07:07 PM

            My apologies.

            Been in numerous threads on the spirits boards where folks will rant endlessly on how agave nectar is the saviour of humanity and for some reason so superior to (fill in the blank, HFCS, sugar etc) other sweetners.

            I did some research and the stuff is just fructose and glucose yet it's 40X as expensive as say Domino crystals in terms of how much sweetness you get for your buck.

            I'm a pretty rabid anti-fadist (as I'm sure others on this board will attest) and the whole agave nectar thing is just the latest Whole Foods crowd fad that I simply do not comprehend... it's sugar people. Sugar from a (sort of) cactus instead of corn (HFCS) or cane.

            There, got that out of my system.

            Again my apologies for pouncing on you in particular.

            1. re: StriperGuy
              teezeetoo Jul 7, 2011 07:33 PM

              no dog in this fight but you can get pomegranate molasses at arax and it keeps forever. wonderful stuff.

              1. re: StriperGuy
                MC Slim JB Jul 9, 2011 10:14 AM

                Some bartenders favor agave nectar in certain cocktails (mezcal and tequila ones lead the list) for its fruit-sugar sweetness and the purportedly rounder mouthfeel that it delivers. I got some cheap at T.J. Maxx and have been using it in Magaritas in place of cane simple; I like it fine, not sure it's super-extra-awesome, but there's a detectable difference there.

                Syrian Grocery Importing Co. in the South End is another good source for pomegranate molasses.


                1. re: MC Slim JB
                  StriperGuy Jul 9, 2011 11:18 AM

                  Can u taste the diff in a cocktail really? I can't.

                  1. re: StriperGuy
                    MC Slim JB Jul 9, 2011 01:19 PM

                    If you use the same proportions, I think so: fructose generally registers as 20-80% sweeter than sucrose. I use about half as much agave as cane syrup. I'm less certain on the mouthfeel question.


                    1. re: StriperGuy
                      lipoff Jul 9, 2011 01:21 PM

                      I don't want to go too OT here, but yes, I can taste the difference. First, there are different kinds of agave nectars. The clear ones taste most like HFCS, since they are both mostly fructose. They do, however, have a different mouth feel (light agave is almost entirely fructose). Cocktails are exactly the place where you can discern the difference in mouth feel. The dark agaves have more flavor, with a more caramel-like taste that's quite gentle. I've made various kinds of sugar syrups, but the agave nectars allow a different balance of caramel tate and thick feel

                      I don't think any one kind of sweetener is generally preferable. It's all the rage now-a-days to tout cane sugar, especially in sodas and drinks. For some beverages, particularly root beers and colas, I think cane sugar does often blend more nicely than HCFS. For other beverages, particularly more subtle fruity ones, I think corn syrup is better, letting the sweetness fade into the background and not overwhelm other flavors. I find agave works particularly well with sharp citrus. Sucralose pairs well with quinine, which is why it's found in Indian tonic water.

                  2. re: StriperGuy
                    Isolda Jul 9, 2011 01:42 PM

                    Sweeteners might be all the same to my body, but they sure taste different in my mouth. I don't know if I could taste agave vs sugar in a cocktail, but I've noticed that any of those syrups with more fructose than sucrose have an unpleasant flat taste I don't care for. Give me plain sugar in just about anything that calls for a sweetener and I'm more likely to like it.

                    That leaves more agave HFCS stevia for the rest of you.

            2. l
              lergnom Jul 7, 2011 08:33 AM

              I've bought it and other spreads from a vendor at SOWA. They are now at Brookline's Farmers Market - which is on Thursdays.

              1. g
                gourmaniac Jul 7, 2011 06:26 AM

                I also like Sevan's version. You should do a taste test along Mt Auburn Street.

                1. k
                  katzzz Jul 7, 2011 06:21 AM

                  My favorite is Eastern Lamjeun's on Belmont Street in Belmont, not far from Arax, et. al. on Mt. Auburn St. in Watertown.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: katzzz
                    keith Jul 8, 2011 02:19 PM

                    I like the Eastern Lamejun version too, though it's quite oily compared to a lot of others that I've tried

                    1. re: keith
                      katzzz Jul 8, 2011 05:31 PM

                      You're right, it is oily. Which makes me realize that it is probably that unctuous quality that makes it my favorite.

                  2. enhF94 Jul 7, 2011 06:19 AM

                    Sound bites has it on the dinner menu. Making it at home is also easy (if you can't find pomegranate molasses, you can boil down pomegranate juice).

                    1. tazia Jul 7, 2011 05:20 AM

                      I'm pretty sure Russo's has some in their cold prepared food case, where there are things like potato salad and olives.

                      1. nsenada Jul 6, 2011 06:28 PM

                        Boston Kabob House and Cafe de Boston have good versions.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: nsenada
                          teezeetoo Jul 6, 2011 06:42 PM

                          Arax in watertown carries it. yum.

                          1. re: teezeetoo
                            StriperGuy Jul 7, 2011 06:15 AM

                            The housemade Arax stuff blows away the supermarket versions.

                            1. re: StriperGuy
                              tatsu Jul 7, 2011 07:55 AM

                              I'll third Arax's version, this is a food that varies wildly depending on who makes it. Sometimes it's rather dark looking, sometimes it too sweet, sometimes it's not sweet at all, sometimes it all walnuts, sometimes pinenuts, etc etc. The Arax version is better than next door at Sevan, I have to say, clearly.

                        2. MC Slim JB Jul 6, 2011 06:13 PM

                          The versions I can remember having out and enjoying in the not too distant past were at Turkish places like Saray and Sultan's Kitchen. I've seen it at retail (not the Samira's brand) at the Armenian markets in Watertown and at the Formaggios. It's not hard to make at home, which is mostly how I enjoy it.


                          Sultan's Kitchen
                          116 State St, Boston, MA 02109

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: MC Slim JB
                            czarp Jul 6, 2011 07:56 PM

                            Thanks for the suggestions! I'll look for muhamarra at Arax/Sevan and Formaggio. The Watertown/Cambridge thing made me wonder: does Sofra make their own? I'll have to check that out, too.

                            Thanks also for the DIY tip. If you can point me to a good recipe, cool; otherwise, I'll roll the google dice.

                            1 Belmont St, Cambridge, MA 02138

                            1. re: czarp
                              Madrid Jul 7, 2011 06:28 AM

                              It's on the Sofra menu. The recipe involves roasted red pepers, a bit of hot red chile, coarsely ground walnuts, cumin, olive oil, lemon juice and pomegranate molasses. You can get the molasses in Watertown but no reason not to make it yourself, it's so easy....6 cups pomegranate juice, 1 cup sugar, and 1 cup lemon juice boiled and reduced to 2 cups. Keeps forever refrigeratored.

                              1 Belmont St, Cambridge, MA 02138

                              1. re: Madrid
                                Isolda Jul 9, 2011 01:37 PM

                                I have bought pomegranate molasses at Trader Joe's, WF, and Shaw's. I live out in the burbs and if I can find the stuff, anyone can. Muhammara is so easy to make. You can even cheat and use roast peppers from the deli section or even--gasp!--from a jar. But you have to have that pomegranate stuff or you won't get the delicious sweet-sour flavor.

                                Trader Joe's
                                1427 Massachusetts Ave, Arlington, MA 02476

                                1. re: Isolda
                                  mvi Jul 10, 2011 04:04 AM

                                  Thanks. I am going to buy some this week and will look at those places first as they are more convenient for me.

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