8 June 2012

Recipe : Dukkah

Dukkah. It’s my new favorite food. Not to be confused with the Sanskrit term dukkha, which is the First Noble Truth of Buddhism and involves suffering and dissatisfaction, but dukka, or dukkah (pronounced DOO-kah), which is a lovely blend of nuts and spices that is really quite satisfying.  Addictive actually. I had seen the word randomly pop up in cookbooks and blogs for quite some time but it never really intrigued me until I unknowingly dipped my bread in it at dinner one night. And then I double dipped, triple dipped, and became hooked.

Dukkah has its roots in the Middle East, likely originating in ancient Egypt. It is a crumbly mixture of nuts, seeds and herbs and is most commonly served as an appetizer with good bread and good olive oil.  I like to serve it with the chewy sourdough being baked by Bella Nashville in their wood fired oven (Downtown Farmer’s Market), or with pita or Turkish bread.  It can also be used to encrust chicken and fish, to sprinkle on your favorite summer salad, and makes a nice accompaniment to hummus.

Or try this concoction from Yotam Ottolenghi which involves a butter bean purée, dukkah, and hard boiled eggs.

It can be made in bulk and packaged prettily in little mason jars for a hostess, birthday, or Christmas gift (hmmm…) and can be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a month, or even longer.  There are many versions floating around the culinary world, but this version is a loose adaptation from the kitchen of Amankila on the beautiful East coast of Bali.

Dukkah (or Dukka)
Note: If using a food processor, be careful to pulse and not over mix it (which would create a paste). The desired consistency should be dry and crumbly whether fine or coarse. 

1/3 cup cashews
1/3 cup raw pistachios
1/3 cup almonds
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
2 tablespoons cumin seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
1/4 cup sesame seeds
salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 350°. Spread nuts on a baking sheet and toast until golden, about 8 minutes. Coarsely chop by hand or in food processor (see note above).

In a dry skillet, toast the coriander seeds over medium heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate and let cool. Using the same skillet, toast the cumin seeds until fragrant, about 2 minutes; add to plate with coriander and let cool. Using the same skillet, toast the sesame seeds until golden, 2-3 minutes. Transfer to chopped nuts.

Using a spice grinder or mortar and pestle, finely grind toasted spices, along with dried thyme, and add to nut and sesame mixture.  Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with good bread, olive oil.