It’s always fun to come up with secret weapons in the kitchen. We all have them. Mine include store-bought gnocchi and naan. The former is fantastic for sheet pan dinners, and the latter for quick and fuss-free pizzas. Now, I can add another kitchen keeper - dukkah. This Egyptian condiment is having a moment, and it’s easy to see why. Composed of toasted nuts, sesame seeds, and spices, it’s delicious on dips, vegetables, and so much more. It’s the sort of seasoning that instantly perks up scrambled eggs, avocado toast, and salads.
Dukka (pronounced doo-kah) has been around since ancient times, and translated from the Arabic, it means “to pound”. That’s because traditionally, one would use a mortar and pestle to pound the nuts, seeds, and spices until they form a coarse and crunchy mixture. For the sake of convenience, I like to use a food processor, but if you have any frustrations you need pounding out, then go ahead and use the old school method.
So, what exactly gets pounded together? This nutty mixture is very much a homemade blend, and there are as many variations as there are Egyptian cooks. The idea behind dukkah is to use up any leftover nuts and seeds kicking about the kitchen, but there are some staple ingredients such as sesame seeds. And you want warm spices in there, such as cumin, coriander, and fennel seeds. Cayenne can be included if you like spicy things. Nuts can be hazelnuts, pistachios, pecans, almonds, or even peanuts, but likely a combination of a couple of these. The nuts and seeds get roasty toasty in a skillet, then everything is added to a food processor for chopping into a coarse mixture. Not too fine - we want the crunch factor here.
Now that you’ve got dukkah, you’ll find yourself adding it to everything. Pretty jars of the stuff make for great gift-giving too.