Dukkah- an egyptian spice blend
There are many things I love about California and particularly San Francisco. The weather, the people, abundance of opportunities, various cultures and the list can go on…but
the best thing I like is the amazing varieties of foods I get to eat and make. Visits to the farmers market, local ethnic grocery stores or eating at the food trucks..all present a great treat to not only my taste buds but also give me an opportunity to learn about people. Last week when I went to the farmer’s market, I chatted with a gentle man who runs an organic farm. He has so many beautiful varieties of beans amongst other interesting produce. We started talking and fifteen minutes later I walked away with a box of gooseberries in exchange of a gooseberry pickle recipe.
One more such visit is when I first tasted Dukkah ( can also be spelt as Duqqa), mixed with an earthy local olive oil..I just fell in love with it. I bought a small packet and it was consumed in the next couple of days. I just loved how quickly it added a fancy touch to a humble olive oil. Since I could not have enough of it, I decided to make my own 🙂
As I researched I realized that there are probably thousands of various dukkah recipes out there. Just like each mexican household as a unique recipe of the enchilada sauce or each Indian household makes a certain variation of ‘Garam Masala’, there are various combinations of spices used for making Dukkah. There are some common elements like sesame seeds, corriander seeds, cumin seeds and soem type of nut ( liek hazlenut or pistachio) across all Dukkah recipes.
Dukkah comes from an arabic word for ‘To pound’, and true to its name it is made using traditionally using mortar and pestle. Since I love making things the traditional way, I decided to make it with mortar & pestle.
I love collecting such ethnic gadgets, I fear that one day these will disappear. Here is one such collection of mortar and pestles.
I use each one of them for a different purpose. I have three that are made up of stone but my favorite is the tiny white one which I use for grinding saffron and the brass one which I use every morning to pound the fresh ginger to add to my Chai. By the way, I am crazy about my cupaa chai in the morning. I function well only after I have had a cup.
1/2 cup Pistachio( sometime I do half hazelnut had pistachio)
1/4 cup coriander seeds
3 tablespoons sesame seeds
2 tablespoons cumin seeds
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
1 teaspoon dried mint leaves
1 teaspoon salt
Dry roast and chop the nuts roughly. Do not make a powder but more like a fine chop.
Lightly roast the sesame seeds.
Dry roast coriander,cumin & caraway seeds.
Grind them in the mortar & pestle.
Mix in the salt, sesame seeds and nuts and crushed dried mint.