I adore the taste of rich, tangy pomegranate molasses, nar eksisi. It is an essential ingredient in Antakya and southern Turkish cuisine and widely used in Middle Eastern cooking. The concentrated flavor of pomegranates molasses adds so much goodness and flavor to salads, casseroles, dips and desserts.
In addition of its delicious and natural sweet and tangy taste, pomegranate is also very rich in nutrient, packed with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. I have lots of fond memories of drinking freshly squeezed pomegranates, nar suyu, during my travels in Turkey, like this glass we had while visiting Pergamum, during our culinary and cultural tours.
Pomegranates feature often especially in southern Turkish and Antakya cuisine. We use the thick & fragrant pomegranate molasses sauce, nar eksisi in Spicy Bulgur wheat salad, Kisir, a specialty in the southeast of Turkey, offered as a welcome to guests. This delicious sauce adds so much flavor to Gavurdagi Salad of tomatoes, onions and walnuts. We also like to “bathe” vegetables like peppers and zucchini or courgettes in pomegranate molasses, before stuffing them with aromatic rice and ground meat, as in this Stuffed peppers with bulgur, ground meat and pomegranate molasses. You can also serve pomegranate molasses and olive oil in a small bowl to accompany Potato and bulgur rolls, Patatesli, bulgurlu kofte; their flavor complement one another so beautifully. This lovely condiment, Nar Eksisi, and many more wholesome condiments and recipes are featured at my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table, Recipes From My Homeland, available to order at this link.
I was very excited to get some big, juicy pomegranates at my Turkish food market in North Cheam, England and made my own pomegranate molasses, nar eksisi. It is worth while making your own, as it will be all natural and less sweet than the commercial ones; you will really taste the pomegranates and nothing else.
It is easy to make pomegranate molasses at home; the trickiest bit is getting the juice out of the pomegranate seeds. The way I do is to take out all the seeds, place a large bowl under the sink and squeeze the pomegranate seeds with your hands through a sieve over the bowl. Try to extract as much of the juice as you can. Or if you are lucky enough to get freshly squeezed pomegranate juice, you can use that too.
You can keep your home made pomegranate molasses, nar eksisi, covered in the fridge for at least two months. It will thicken more as it cools down and sets in the fridge, so good to bear in mind. Pomegranate molasses is in constant use in our kitchen from a simple salad dressing to adding flavors to the meals and worth the investment.
- 1058 ml /4 ½ cups / 2 ¼ lb. freshly squeezed pomegranates juice (out of 8 large pomegranates)
- 26 gr / 2 tbsp. brown sugar
- 15 ml/ 1 tbsp. lemon juice
- Take out all the pomegranate seeds and save in a bowl.
- Place a large bowl and a sieve under the sink.
- Squeeze the pomegranate seeds with your hands through a sieve over the large bowl. Try to extract as much of the juice as you can. Discard the left over seeds.
- Pour in the freshly squeezed pomegranate juice in a heavy saucepan. Stir in the sugar.
- Bring the pan to a boil over medium to high heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved.
- Add the lemon juice, mix and reduce the heat to medium to low, just enough for simmering.
- Simmer for about 1 hour and 10 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes; the juice will get thicken and reduce to ¾ cups.
- Turn the heat off and let the pomegranate molasses cool. It will thicken more as it cools down.
- Once cool, pour into a glass jar with an airtight lid on.
- Store in the fridge up to 2 months.
- Makes ¾ cup / 177 ml/ 6 fl oz. pomegranate molasses