Dukkah (pronounced DOO-kah) is a Middle Eastern blend of toasted nuts, sesame seeds and spices. The crunchy condiment served on olive oil-dipped flatbread is especially popular in Egypt, where nearly every family has developed its own version to suit its personal taste.
But dukkah — traditionally featuring hazelnuts ground in a mortar and pestle — has gone on a bit of a globe trot recently, initially surfacing in Australia and New Zealand.
Check out mariasfarmcountrykitchen.com for the story of how Maria Rodale, an independent publisher of organic health and lifestyle books, discovered what she refers to as “dry dip” during her travels Down Under.
Now dukkah is starting to trend in the United States: The just-released cookbook “In a Nutshell” (W.W. Norton) by Cara Tannenbaum and Andrea Tutunjian offers a recipe with an international spin, combining Brazil nuts and hazelnuts with sesame and sunflower seeds and coconut flakes.
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Meanwhile, Trader Joe’s sold small jars of the condiment for a time but recently discontinued the product. The Star’s recipe for Spicy Dukkah uses Trader Joe’s popular Thai Lime and Chili nuts line, including cashews, almonds and peanuts, for a jump start.
To eat dukkah, dip your chip, bread or crudite into olive oil and then coat with the nut/spice mixture. Dukkah is also delicious sprinkled on everything from eggs and pasta to roasted or fresh vegetables, or swirled into yogurt or salad dressings. It is also very good sprinkled on feta cheese and hummus.
Why all the hoopla over dukkah?
It’s high in protein and fiber with minimal saturated fat, cholesterol or sugar. Plus, when you use a food processor, it’s a snap to make a batch.
Shopping tip: The spiced nuts we used for testing this recipe are available at Trader Joe’s, but if you prefer a less spicy version, use a combination of almonds and cashews, toast and continue with the recipe.
Cooking tip: Toasting intensifies the flavor of nuts and seeds, but watch the process carefully, as they burn quickly.
Makes about 11/2 cups
1 cup Thai Lime and Chili Almonds, Cashews or Peanuts (see shopping tip)
1/4 cup sesame seeds
2 tablespoons whole coriander seeds
2 tablespoons cumin seed
1 teaspoon salt
Pita bread and crudites, for serving
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Spread nuts in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake 7 to 10 minutes or until toasted, stirring halfway through. (Toasting intensifies the flavor of nuts and seeds, but watch carefully so they don’t burn.)
Spread sesame seeds in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake 5 to 7 minutes or until toasted, stirring halfway through.
Spread coriander seeds and cumin seeds on a baking sheet and toast 5 to 8 minutes.
Allow all ingredients to cool completely.
Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse about 15 times to chop mixture. Mixture can be coarse or fine as you prefer, but do not overprocess or mixture will turn to paste. You do not want a paste.
Store mixture in a covered container in refrigerator.
To serve, dip the edge of pita bread into olive oil, then into dukkah.
To add crudites, use any vegetables, including cauliflower, carrots, peppers, zucchini, radishes and blanched green beans. Arrange the crudites around several small bowls of dukkah and olive oil for dipping.
Per 3-teaspoon serving: 48 calories (73 percent from fat), 4 grams total fat (1 gram saturated), no cholesterol, 2 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram protein, 91 milligrams sodium, 1 gram dietary fiber.
Recipe developed for The Star by professional home economists Kathryn Moore and Roxanne Wyss.