Spices, nuts, seeds…dukkah is a little bit of all of that in one bite, that was first invented, and mixed by the Ancient Egyptians.
Egyptian dukkah (or duqqa) is a well known recipe to those familiar with Middle Eastern cuisine.
Eating this lovely burst of flavor will conjure up images of the Middle East, and North Africa in your mind.
Spicy, nutty and exotic all in one mouthful, means you won’t regret it when you give it a try.
What is Dukkah?
The word dukkah is the Arabic word meaning to knock or to pound coming from the fact that a mortar and pestle was originally used to make this.
This dukkah recipe is made up of crushed hazelnuts, walnuts and sesame seeds, along with coriander and cumin.
Added to that is a little ground fennel, with some salt and black pepper.
I say this dukkah recipe because once again this was a highly personalized mixture of spices and nuts.
At one time eaten by most people to add some flavor to their otherwise bland loaf of bread.
The types of nuts and spices will depend on where the mix is coming from, and perhaps on what can be afforded at the time.
It is a nut, seed and spice blend using what makes sense to you.
I’ve seen it made with sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, different toasted nuts, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, you name it.
This is a very versatile mix and can be used in several different ways from flavoring meat to being eaten with pita bread as a dip with olive oil.
Spices were such an important thing in the old world, even more so than today, mainly because recipes were not as sophisticated.
How to Make Dukkah
A good alternative to the mortar and pestle is a food processor, or a spice blender, which is what I use.
I will grind the nuts and seeds to where they are still a bit rough because I like the extra crunch.
But do grind to your desired consistency, whether smooth or still a bit rough it’s up to you.
Place a pan over medium heat and dry saute the ground nuts and seeds for about 3 to 4 minutes.
Then add your spice mix and continue to toast for another three to four minutes.
And it is as simple as that, remove from the heat and cool, while enjoying the delightful smell.
Think about how you can make this dukkah your own, try new combinations if you like, add your favorite spices.
Everyone is doing it, you can even find a particular mix at Trader Joe’s!
How to Use Dukkah
As I mentioned this is a very versatile mixture of flavoring that can be used in lots of ways.
Try sprinkling it onto soup or salad, roast vegetables, or meat that is destined to be roasted in the oven.
It is great as a rub for chicken or lamb, and even very tasty eaten with a more robust fish, like swordfish.
If you do eat it with fish don’t forget the lemon juice!
It is delicious eaten as a dip with bread and olive oil, along with a mezze course, or just a snack.
If you want to create a dip for vegetables, add some dukkah to yogurt and stir to make something truly delicious.
Sour cream is also a great substitute for the yogurt, and lovely when eaten with nacho chips.
Add dukkah to hummus, or sprinkle it onto the top for some added zest.
Add olive oil straight to the mix creating a paste that is perfect when baked as part of a flatbread, kind of like manakeesh.
Putting dukkah in mashed potatoes that are served as a bed for roast lamb is sublime.
Why Coriander, Cumin, and Fennel?
A lot of things were begun out of symbolism, or necessity in the old world, and it’s no different with this mix.
Coriander was thought to be an aphrodisiac, and very popular in Ancient Egypt among those who could afford it.
Cumin was a symbol of faithfulness, and many people carried it in their pockets as a show of character.
Fennel is a very good herb for digestion, and was I’m sure included for medicinal purposes.
Not to mention flavor, since the combination of these three tastes is nothing short of fantastic.
What About the Nuts?
The hazelnut was a symbol of good luck and fertility, and always a good sign when included in food.
Symbolism of the walnut was all about wisdom and inspiration, as well as intelligence and knowledge.
Wonderful reasons to include these symbols into our food, and meditate on them perhaps.
And finally the sesame seeds provide the good luck, and immortality that so many search for.
Is Dukkah Good for You?
As we’ve already established spices are of significant value to the human body as good for digestion.
Herbs and spices are full of healthy compounds offering lots of betterment towards the body.
Spices have been shown to benefit your body, by treating inflammation, lowering blood sugar, along with many other positives.
Nuts are a great source of good fat, protein and fiber as well as Omega-6 and Omega-3.
Nuts are very beneficial as part of a well-balanced diet.
And dukkah is a bit of all of that goodness, which you shouldn’t miss out on.
- ½ cup Hazelnuts
- ½ cup Walnuts
- 2 tbsp Sesame Seeds
- 2 tsp Coriander
- 1 tsp Cumin
- 1 tsp Fennel
- ½ tsp Salt
- ½ tsp Black Pepper
- Grind nuts and seeds.
- Dry saute for 3-4 minutes over medium heat. Stirring.
- Add the spices, salt and pepper, and continute to saute for 3 to 4 more minutes.
- Keep stirring so as not to burn.
- Remove from the pan and allow to cool.