What Is Pomegranate Molasses? Eleven Ideas For What To Do With Pomegranate Molasses

“Pury’s cooking showed me that, despite the similarities between Persian and other Middle Eastern cuisines, there is an art to Persian flavour pairing that produces dishes unlike anything you’ve ever tasted. Imagine aubergine with walnuts, crowned with thick whey; morello cherries with lamb; chicken with oranges and saffron; spinach, yoghurt and raisins; ingredients such as pomegranate molasses, dried buttermilk and dried limes for natural sweet and sour.”

-Mina Holland, The Edible Atlas: Around the World in Thirty-nine Cuisines


Well, the first thing to know is that pomegranate molasses is not molasses – being a thick, viscous syrup it just looks a bit like molasses (not quite as thick). Pomegranate molasses is simply pomegranate juice, reduced to about a quarter of its initial volume.

It has a name for being a bit ‘fashionable’ (ie not a really serious cooking ingredient) but this is unfair, it’s immensely useful for adding depth to a whole range of dishes, both savoury and sweet. It’s been used in Persian cuisine for centuries.

How to make pomegranate molasses if you can’t find any to buy

It’s widely available so the obvious thing to do is to buy it, but, if for some reason you can’t get hold of it, you can either make it simply by simmering for about an hour and a half until it’s a quarter of its initial volume (be careful towards the end, if it becomes too concentrated it just goes hard very quickly); or for a sweeter, more Persian, variation add 110g/⅔ cup soft brown sugar and about six tablespoons of fresh lemon juice to a litre (4¼ cups) of pomegranate juice and simmer for just over an hour until syrupy.

How to use pomegranate molasses

Here are eleven ideas of what you can do with pomegranate molasses:

  • use it as part of a marinade (instead of the acid elements of vinegar, wine or other fruit juice) for meat or fish
  • add it to dressings, again as full or part replacement of the acid element. It’s especially good in these salads:
    •  tomato and basil
    •  lentils, walnuts and dried herbs
    • figs and prosciutto
  • as a soft drink mixed with fizzy water
  • in a showy cocktail of champagne and hibiscus flower
  • added to dips – especially shop-bought ones which you don’t want to taste shop-bought:
    • hummus
    • baba ganoush (smoked aubergine)
    • Ottolenghi’s burnt aubergine, tahini and pomegranate
  • to chutneys which have got a bit hard and dry with age (use up straightaway)
  • in stews and tagines
  • to soups (cauliflower, mushroom…chicken)
  • over vanilla ice cream, or chocolate ice cream
  • as the secret ingredient for a luxurious chocolate sauce – which might go well on ice cream… or with duck… add 120 ml/½ cup to 90g melted dark chocolate
  • add the above sauce to whipped double cream to make a delicious filling for a cake

 

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