Pomegranate molasses is my most recent “secret ingredient”. I use it in stews, sauces, and glazes; anytime I want a sweet/sour mystery ingredient that will have guests scratching their heads. It is a main ingredient in the wonderful muhammara condiment used in Turkish and Syrian cuisine. You can buy pomegranate molasses in Middle Eastern markets and some well-stocked supermarkets, but it’s easy to make yourself. Just take a jar of pomegranate juice, add some sugar and lemon juice and then cook it down until it has the consistency of a thick syrup. I’ve kept it in the refrigerator for 3 months with no ill effects.

In this recipe, I drizzle it on hummus. Hummus fits into the simplicity theme I’ve been going on about recently—you can whip up a batch in about 15 minutes if you use canned garbanzo beans, which makes we wonder why anyone buys the tasteless stuff in the supermarket. (Of course it’s better to use dried beans and even better if you pop them out of their skins to get a smooth texture, but then it wouldn’t be so simple)

I like to enliven hummus with a mix of citrus juices to bring out more sweetness and complexity. A traditional recipe would use only lemon juice.

Recipe below the fold


For the Pomegranate Molasses:

Pour 4 cups of pure pomegranate juice into a pot. Add 1/2 cup sugar and 1/4 cup lemon juice and heat to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Continue to simmer until reduced to about 1 cup.

Allow to cool and reserve.

For the Hummus:


1 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoon lime juice

3 tablespoons orange juice

1/8 cup water

6 tablespoons tahini, stirred

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling

1 (14-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

3 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 teaspoon table salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

Pinch cayenne

1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

1/4 cup pomegranate molasses

a few walnuts quartered for garnish


1. Combine citrus juices and water in a small bowl.

2.  Process chickpeas, garlic, salt, cumin, and cayenne in food processor until fully ground, about 15 seconds.  With the machine running, add juice and water mixture through feed tube and process for about 1 minute scraping down the sides as needed.  Add tahini, and then with machine running add oil in a steady stream. Continue to process until hummus is smooth. Add more citrus juice if needed.

3. Transfer to a serving bowl, drizzle pomegranate molasses over top (to taste), sprinkle cilantro on top. If you wish, drizzle more olive oil as well. And serve garnished with walnuts.