Egyptian Spice Mix: Dukkah

Dukkah, an Egyptian spice blend of toasted nuts and seeds, has become a international favorite over the past few years, thanks to its popularity first in Australian restaurants and then among home cooks and food blogs. The warm, aromatic mixture is addictive when served as a dip with bread and olive oil. We've also been sprinkling it on everything else lately – roasted vegetables, pasta, feta cheese, and even peaches. Dukkah (pronounced DOO-kah) may be purchased in some gourmet and ethnic markets, but it's easy to make at home. Freshly toasted nuts and seeds also taste better, and it can be fun to experiment with different ingredients.

There are countless recipes for dukkah. Just about every mixture includes nuts (most often hazelnuts, but various other kinds may be used alone or in combination), sesame seeds, coriander, and cumin. To this, a cook might add dried thyme, mint, peppercorns, or various other sweet, hot, and savory herbs and spices. We have included a basic recipe to get you started and then encourage you to play with ingredients and proportions depending on your personal preference and intended use.

In addition to the uses we mentioned above, dukkah is often used as a crust for lamb, chicken, and fish. Tofu is another possibility. Let us know if you have any other suggestions!

Basic Ingredients
• Nuts – hazelnuts, almonds, pistachios, cashews, pine nuts, macadamia nuts
• Sesame seeds
• Coriander
• Cumin

Optional Additions
• Dried chickpeas
• Dried herbs – marjoram, mint, thyme
• Dried lemon zest
• Hot pepper – red pepper flakes, chili powder
• Pepper – freshly ground or whole peppercorns
• Salt
• Seeds – caraway, fennel, nigella
• Spices – baharat, cinnamon, clove, turmeric
• Sugar

Dukkah (Basic Recipe)
Makes 2 1/4 cups

1 cup nuts
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup coriander seeds
1/4 cup cumin seeds
1 teaspoon sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Toast nuts and seeds in separate batches. (See How to Toast Nuts and Boost Flavor by Toasting Spice.) Let cool completely.

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse. The mixture may fine or coarse, depending on personal preference, but be sure it is dry and crumbly. Over-mixing will turn it into a paste. (Can also use a mortar and pestle or spice grinder.)

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Related: From the Spice Cupboard: Za'atar Seasoning Blend

(Image: Emily Ho)

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