Egyptian Blend of Spice and Nuts, Different with Every Bite
On restaurant menus all over town, dukkah, a blend of spices and nuts, is making an appearance. Pronounced DOO-kah, it’s a mixture of toasted nuts (usually hazelnuts) and toasted whole spices. Dukkah is Egyptian in origin, where it is typically used to crust meat or to season rice or lentil dishes. It’s wonderfully versatile, and since it isn’t too finely ground, each bite is slightly different. Try it in these recipes, or sprinkle it on a leafy salad or grilled or roasted vegetables.
Makes about 3/4 cup (180 mL)
1/2 cup (125 mL) whole hazelnuts or filberts
2 tbsp (30 mL) sesame seeds
2 tbsp (30 mL) coriander seeds
1 tbsp (15 mL) cumin seeds
1 tbsp (15 mL) fennel seeds
Preheat the oven to 375 F (190 C). Spread hazelnuts on a small baking sheet. Bake 5 minutes or until fragrant. Let cool 5 minutes then transfer to a clean tea towel. Use the towel to rub off the brown skins. Let cool completely.
Heat a small pan over medium-high. Add sesame, coriander, cumin and fennel seeds and toast 2 to 4 minutes or until fragrant. Transfer to a bowl and cool completely.
Place cleaned hazelnuts in a mortar to grind with a pestle or small food processor. Pound or pulse until just crumbly. Add toasted seeds and pound or pulse until many, but not all, of the seeds crack. Keeps up to 2 weeks.
Charred Eggplant Baba Ganouj with Dukkah
Makes about 2 cups (500 mL)
3 large Italian eggplants
1 small clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp (15 mL) lemon juice
1/2 tsp (5 mL) salt
1/4 cup (60 mL) tahini
2 to 4 tbsp (30 to 60 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup (50 mL) dukkah
Preheat the grill to medium. Prick each eggplant twice with a sharp knife. Place eggplants directly on the hot grill. Cook with the lid closed, turning every 15 minutes or so, until skin is charred and flesh is very tender, about 50 minutes. Transfer to a baking sheet and let cool.
Combine garlic, lemon juice and salt in a large bowl. Let stand 10 minutes. Peel off and discard charred skin from eggplant. Transfer flesh to a colander and let drain 10 minutes.
Add drained eggplant to garlic mixture. Whisk vigorously. Add tahini and whisk very well. Transfer to a shallow serving bowl. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with dukkah. Serve with crackers or flatbreads and crudites.
Grilled Flatbreads with Fresh Labneh and Dukkah
2 cups (500 mL) plain Balkan-style yogurt
1/2 tsp (2 mL) fresh lemon juice
2 naan or other flatbreads
1/4 cup (50 mL) dukkah
Combine yogurt, lemon juice and salt in a medium bowl. Stir well. Transfer to a fine-mesh sieve lined with cheesecloth or coffee filters. Set the sieve over a bowl, cover and refrigerate 12 to 24 hours.
Preheat grill to medium-high. Grill flatbreads until very hot, 1 minute per side. Spread with labneh and sprinkle with dukkah. Cut into triangles. Serve immediately.