Recipe: Dukkah

Dukkah (aka duqqa) is my current favorite spice mixture. I sprinkle it on just about everything. Hailing from Egypt, dukkah is often served alongside bread and olive oil as a snack, or it's sprinkled over vegetables. The word dukkah is derived from the Arabic word "to pound," which, in addition to a bit of toasting, is all you need to do to make it.

In Chinese herbology, we use aromatic spices to wake up a sluggish digestion. Guess what dukkah is full of? Yep, you're right. And it really works. If your digestion is less than perfect, adding aromatic spices to your meals is a tasty and inexpensive way to help things out.

I've seen at least a dozen variations on the recipe for dukkah. The recipe I share below is the mix I've been loving recently. I list quantities for those of you who like more hand holding in the kitchen, but I never actually use measuring tools and I often alter the ingredients depending on what I have on hand. Aside from burning the spices, you can't mess this up. So relax, toast, pound, and enjoy!

Dukkah Spice Mix

3/4 cup hazelnuts (or almonds or walnuts or any nut)

4 tablespoons coriander seeds

2 tablespoons cumin seeds

2 tablespoons fennel seeds

3 tablespoons sesame seeds

1 tsp salt (I like a flakey salt like Maldon)

1 tsp chili flake

1/2 tsp black pepper

1) Preheat oven to 350 and toast nuts for about 10-15 minutes. Once toasted, remove from pan and chop until pea sized or so. Don't worry about size.

2) While toasting the nuts, put the coriander, cumin and fennel seeds in a skillet over medium heat. Stir until they become very fragrant and some of the seeds are slightly browning. This takes maybe 2-3 minutes. Toss seeds into a spice grinder (aka cleaned out coffee grinder) or a mortar and pestle. Grind or pound seeds until they are slightly smashed but not powdered. Actually, some will end up powdered and others will still be whole. It's all good. This just take a couple seconds in a spice grinder and a couple minutes in a mortar and pestle.

3) Put sesame seeds in the skillet and toast lightly, then toss into a bowl big enough to hold all the ingredients.

4) Add the nuts, seed mixture, salt, and black pepper to the sesame seeds and give a stir. Taste it. Want more salt? Add it. Taste it again. Eat it with a spoon like cereal. That's what I do.


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