Citizens! After our long journey together you are by now fully aware that your beloved leader, the almighty TFD, truly digs the spice!
Spice blends are a passion of mine, and there are many listed throughout the site for the joy of TFD Nation, including my personal blend of Moroccan ras-el-hanout, containing nearly 40 different spices! 🙂 This next spice blend from nearby Egypt may not be as complex, but it certainly brings the flavor! 🙂
Dukka is an Egyptian condiment consisting of a mixture of nuts (usually hazelnut), and spices. It is typically used as a dip with bread or fresh vegetables for an hors d’œuvre and pre-made versions of dukka can be purchased throughout the spice markets of Cairo. This mix of coarsely ground nuts and spices can be served with olive oil and bread for dipping with breakfast, or as a snack or appetizer.
The word is derived from the Arabic for “to pound” since the mixture of spices and nuts are pounded together after being dry roasted to a texture that is neither powdered nor paste-like. The actual composition of the spice mix can vary from family to family and vendor to vendor though there are common ingredients, such as sesame, coriander, cumin, salt and pepper.
Reference to a 19th-century text lists marjoram, mint, zaatar and chickpeas as further ingredients that can be used in the mixture. A report from 1978 indicates that even further ingredients can be used, such as nigella, millet flour and dried cheese. Some modern variants include pine nuts, pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds.
Dukka is now becoming popular in some countries outside Egypt. In the United States it has gained exposure through such TV shows as Top Chef, Chopped and Iron Chef America. In Australia several companies now make it in a variety of flavors. It has become popular in the past ten years, probably due to recent Lebanese and Arabic immigration as well as television cooking shows such as SBS Food. It can be found in supermarkets, specialty stores and many farmers markets.
My version includes not only hazelnuts, but also walnuts and pistachios plus some poppy seeds for additional flavor – I believe you will come to love my version of dukka as much as I do, Citizens!
Battle on – The Generalissimo
½ cup shelled Pistachio Nuts (natural – avoid the red-dyed variety)
½ cup Walnuts
½ cup Hazelnuts
2 tsp each White and black sesame seeds
5 teaspoons of Coriander Seeds
4 teaspoons Cumin Seeds
1 teaspoon of Allspice berries
2 teaspoons Black Peppercorns
1 ½ teaspoon Flaked Sea Salt
1 tablespoon Poppy seeds
Place all of your nuts, sesame seeds and all whole spices on a cookie tray.
Toast the nuts, seeds, and whole spices at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes until the nuts begin to color and the spices are fragrant. The walnuts will turn golden and the aroma will be strong and nutty.
Transfer contents of the cookie sheet to a food processor, blender or coffee/spice grinder. Pulse until you have a coarse consistency. Don’t grind to a powder. Stop when you have nice grainy and even blend. Store in a sealed container.