Today I’m sharing with you a recipe for this delicious Syrian red pepper dip with homemade yoghurt flatbreads. We love this red pepper dip and it’s a great hidden vegetable recipe, without really meaning to be one. Mopping up some of this dip with a piece of bread is a great way to get kids eating more vegeteables. The recipe is inspired by Syria and over the next few months I’ll be sharing some other recipes with you from countries in conflict, or that have touched my heart in some way.
Sometimes I have to leave the room when the news is on. Especially when it features children. Those chemical attacks in Syria that happened recently were a case in point. How utterly devastating, heartbreaking and pointless that people – including children – should lose their lives in such a horrific way.
I spend most of my days thinking about food and have neither the skills, nor the experience to be able to do much to help the people of Syria, beyond a couple of fundraising events that my kids’ school have put on for a local refugee centre.
My fellow blogger Lisa, from Lovely Appetite, felt the same about making a difference. So we’re sticking to what we do best – food of course. We’ve come up with Food for Thought a simple way to acknowledge the wonderful cuisine of a now war-torn country. We’re each going to share a recipe with you from Syria. Lisa has made a tabouleh style salad, which looks fantastic. Cheryl from Madhouse Family Reviews has also joined in with a delicious looking Syrian mint lemonade and Choclette from Tin and Thyme has made Syrian stuffed red peppers.
And you can also read about the work of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) below, one of the few NGOs to work in Syria and, should you wish, donate some money to them.
I have an old cookbook at home called Feast Bazaar by Barry Vera, which has a large Syrian section. The food is fairly meat-based but there are several delicious sounding vegetable based salads and dips. I have adapted his red pepper dip and yoghurt flatbreads to share with you all here.
- 280g plain flour
- 50g buckwheat flour (or use all plain)
- 1 x 7g sachet of fast action dried yeast
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 100ml water
- 150g plain natural yoghurt
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 400g roasted red peppers (homemade or jarred)
- 100g walnuts
- 30g wholemeal breadcrumbs, toasted
- 1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 50 ml olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- First prepare the dough for your breads.
- Place the flour, yeast and salt into a large mixing bowl. Stir through the water, yoghurt and olive oil until you have a rough, sticky dough.
- Turn out onto an oiled work surface and knead for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic - or use a stand mixer fit with a dough hook to do the same.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a damp tea towel for around one and a half hours until doubled in size.
- Preheat the oven to 180°c (fan)/200°C/gas mark 6. Lightly flour two baking trays.
- Knock back the dough (squeeze most of the air out with your hands) and divide into eight balls.
- On a lightly floured surface flatten out the balls with your hands until you have flat breads measuring about 15cm across.
- Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until golden brown and cooked through.
- To make the dip drain your red peppers if they're jarred, or remove the skins if you've roasted your own. Chop them roughly and then place them with all the other ingredients apart from the olive oil, salt and pepper into a food processor or high powered blender.
- Blend until smooth and then gradually add the olive oil until you have a smooth and creamy consistency.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Read more about MSF’s work in Syria
Some 4.8 million people have fled the Syria since the war began in 2011 and an estimated 6.5 million have been internally displaced as government troops, opposition forces and insurgent groups battle for power and control of territory.
Inside Syria, MSF directly operates four health facilities in the north-eastern part of the country and provides support to more than 150 health facilities countrywide through training and donations of medicine, medical equipment, generators and staff salaries. In areas that are under siege, MSF also distributes food.
Over just three months from November 2016 to January 2017, these facilities performed 291,000 emergency and out-patient consultations, 18,750 surgical operations, and 3,100 safe deliveries. MSF accepts no governmental funding for its work in Syria, in order to be demonstrably independent from political motives.
MSF is also providing healthcare to Syrian refugees for have fled to neighbouring countries such as Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Turkey. Here you can read the story of 10-year-old Mahmoud, who now lives in Jordan. He has been receiving psychological support from MSF to treat PTSD after seeing his neighbour shot dead and his father arrested in Syria.