I didn’t want to fall in love. I resisted the total embrace. After all, what food writer who lived through sun-dried tomatoes would not see it as a fling?
Nevertheless, pomegranate molasses (also known as grenadine molasses and pomegranate syrup, the pomegranate essence created by slowly simmering the juice, usually with sugar and lemon, until it forms a luscious, tangy syrup) shows up in several recipes in this book, making as regular appearances as wine. Which it resembles, only fruitier. Or raspberry liqueur, only tarter, and nonalcoholic.
But in the end, it has a taste all its own, a heavenly, perfectly balanced act of sweet and sour, floral and berry—a flavor combination particularly prized by Jews.
That is why I was not surprised when a grocer in Brooklyn’s Syrian-Jewish neighborhood suggested it as a substitute for the rather difficult-to-find temerhindi, or ourt, a tangy sweet-and-sour sauce made from tamarind pulp, that I needed to prepare the Syrian meat rolls, Kibbe Gheraz. “Syrian Jews from Aleppo use ourt, and the ones from Damascus cook the same dishes with pomegranate molasses.”
Whether he was right or not (it is slightly tarter and more berry-tasting than ourt), it worked well in the kibbe, and I have been adding it ever since—to meat and chicken marinades, hummus, and even applesauce. Today it is stocked by many specialty stores, as well as Middle Eastern markets. (for more on pomegranate molasses.)
Cardamom and cinnamon play up the spicy notes in the pomegranate molasses here, making this a delicious complement to poultry and meats, especially briskets and pot roasts (see Aromatic Marinated Brisket with Chestnuts). It’s also tempting plain, or just topped with a touch of yogurt cream or labneh.
© 2000 Jayne Cohen. All rights reserved.