Saturday, March 19, 2011


My brother, who was living in downtown Cairo until several weeks ago, is going back!  I'm really happy for him; it's where he wants to be.  I've also given him the mission of finding some dukkah, which, in all his street food experiences, he hasn't yet encountered.

I think typically you dip bread into olive oil and then into dukkah, so it's quite a bit like za'atar, except that the spices are different, and it's more nutty and less herby than za'atar.  The combination of flavors is crazy!  This recipe from 101 cookbooks (which after googling around looked pretty standard) combines coriander, cumin, fennel, sesame, hazelnuts, pepper, and mint!  Wikipedia also led me to this other dukkah recipe that includes coconut and pistachio.

I love making things like this or like garam masala.  I feel like a scientist creating a magic potion, measuring out all the small amounts of beautiful spices and toasting them individually.  There's also something satisfying about putting in time now for your own ease later. 

Edit 4/3: Dukkah tastes amazing on popcorn!!  Add it to the list of popcorn toppings.  :)


1/2 c hazelnuts
1/4 c coriander seeds
3 TB sesame seeds
2 TB cumin seeds
1 TB black peppercorns
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp dried mint leaves
1 tsp salt

1. Heat a heavy skillet over high heat, add the hazelnuts, and dry-toast until slightly browned and fragrant, being careful that they don't burn. Remove from the heat and cool completely. Repeat the procedure with each of the seeds and the peppercorns. Allow each of them to cool completely.
2. Place the nuts and seeds, along with the mint and salt, into a mortar and pound until the mixture is crushed. Or pulse in a food processor to a coarse consistency; do not allow the mixture to become a paste.
3. Store in an airtight container in a cool place for up to 1 month.  Makes 1 cup.

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