Dukkah, alternatively spelled Dukka or Dugga is a spice and nut mixture that originated in Egypt but is common in cuisines throughout the Mediterranean. The components vary from family to family and vendor to vendor. The mixture can be as simple as crushed mint with salt and pepper which is sold, paper wrapped, at the Cairo spice market. It can also be very complex, tailored to specific uses, flavor profiles and personal preferences.
The word dukkah actually means to pound - as in, apply pressure until the components break into a crumbly mixture. Nuts, seeds and spices are toasted and then pounded or chopped to a consistency of your preference. Texture as well as flavor can be adapted to use and personal preference.
I discovered dukka when I attended a fasting retreat a long time ago. It was house-made and sat temptingly in the gift shop the entire five days I was not eating. It was the first thing I tasted on top of some yoghurt when I broke my fast. A little advice - don’t eat something that complicated and full flavored when you are coming off a fast. It was foolish, but I fell in love with the crunchy texture and complex flavors that day and I still love dukkah for that reason. I also love that dukkah is so easily tailored to personal preferences.
Here is my basic dukkah recipe with some suggestions:
1 cup pistachios - roasted and rough chopped
1 cup hazelnuts - roasted and rough chopped
½ cup sunflower seeds - roasted
¼ cup sesame seeds - roasted
1 tablespoon coriander seeds - roasted and crushed
1 tablespoon cumin seeds - roasted and crushed
½ teaspoon dry thyme
¼ teaspoon sea salt - flake or ground
¼ teaspoon Aleppo pepper
¼ teaspoon sumac
Put it all together and taste for seasoning.
I hand chop my nuts and grind my spices in a mortar with a pestle. You can do all the chopping and grinding in a food processor but notice the change in texture as you process so you wind up with the consistency you want.
Store air tight at room temperature.
Here are some alternate or additional ingredients:
Hazelnuts are a personal favorite but all nuts are good in dukkah - almonds are frequently used.
Dry lemon zest
You see where I am going here and back to the original theme, make it your own.
The initial way to serve was to put dukkah in a bowl, pour olive oil in another bowl, cut up some good bread - pita, naan - whatever. Dip the bread in the olive oil, then the dukkah and happily consume. This is a seriously wonderful snack and as good with mint tea as it is with a glass of McEvoy Pinot Noir.
Here are a some other things you can do with dukkah:
Coating or crust for chicken, fish or lamb
Topping for hummus or any bean puree
Topping for yogurt or any yogurt based sauce
Crunchy addition to a salad
Garnish for roasted vegetables
Sprinkle for eggs or egg salad
Dip blended with McEvoy Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Garnish for pasta
Just a start …
Dukkah is vegan and using it is a great way to add protein to any vegan or vegetarian dish.
Enjoy the crunch!
I want to share bonus with you and make note that we food and wine lovers share a small and lovely world! Janet Fletcher is a brilliant cheese expert whose recent blog included dukkah and rose wine. Be sure to enjoy the dukkah recipe with a class of McEvoy Ranch Rosebud!
Here is Janet’s blog.