Lesson | What is Dukkah!?
What is it?
Basically, ground-up stuff. Nuts, seeds and spices. It originates in Egypt, and it does indeed have a heady flavor and aroma that suggests that part of the world. The mixture may either be used as a seasoning for mutton stews or, mixed with olive oil, as a spread for Egypt white bread.
There seem to be literally dozens of ways to make dukkah (or dukka…or duqqah…you say tomato, I say tomarto), and I am sure every family has their own secret family recipe.
Traditionally using hazelnuts, almonds, pistachios but these days there are plenty more exotic nuts blends using cashews or macadamia nuts. However peanuts, not really... I may even go as far to say never. As for spices, traditionally pepper, cumin and thyme are usually in there. With coriander seed, sumac, fennel seed regular additions. For seeds there might be sunflower seeds. Perhaps chickpeas, sesame seed. Its up to you..... do you have pepper, paprika, coriander, mustard seeds, coconut? Well, all depends on what you like. Nigella seeds? Why not. Fennel? Perhaps. Whatever you’re using, just make sure it’s toasted if necessary, then ground up. And that, as they say, is that.
How do you use it?
Well, use it whenever you need to add a little flavor. The simple and traditional option is to serve it with bread and olive oil (dip bread in oil, then in the dukkah, then enjoy the little fire work of flavors) Gluten intolerant than a vegetable platter works just as well . Use as a seasoning to stews, other wise just sprinkle the stuff anywhere. Through steamed greens, a stir fry, through a meatball, burger or felafel recipe, over salad or as a garnish sitting on the table right up there with the salt and pepper shakers. The options truly are only restricted by your imagination.
Make hummus or some other dip, and sprinkle the dukkah all over it. Or take cubes of soft cheese or feta and coat with dukkah. Or add spoonfuls to a green leafy salad, add a simple vinaigrette and enjoy the rich flavors that the dukkah adds. Crumb lamb, goat, chicken, salmon, shrimp or fish with a lovely dukkah nut crust..... Yum! Our favorite uses are the traditional bread and olive oil and as a bread crumb or nut crust with lamb.
You might just sense from this that we really like this stuff. Well its not just me, it seems to have taken Australia and New Zealand by storm. I’ve found that it makes a great condiment, and while it’s got salt and pepper in there, it also adds interesting new dimensions to foods. I have been seeing it pop up in the states recently and I think it's beginning to gain popularity. You can easily make it at home by roasting whatever combination of nuts, seeds, spices you like and just grind up with a mortar and pestle, spice grinder or food processor .