Dukkah has been found at the beginning of quite a few food gatherings at my house so far this year. It’s an Egyptian-inspired spice mix which I first got a whiff of at the wonderful Ard Bia in Galway. It works brilliantly as a pre-dinner all-hands-on-deck nibbley treat because you can make it way in advance and it can sit happily on your table until your buddies arrive to tuck in.
It’s an aromatic combination of hazelnuts, fennel seeds, coriander seeds and quite a few more spice cupboard favourites. It’s served alongside fluffly bread and oil, so that you can dip your bread in your oil and then into the Dukkah mix, gathering up as many delicious spices you can before popping the lot in your gob. This works deliciously alongside a batch of homemade hummus, another great make-in-advance dish for a food gathering.
The first time I made it at home, I followed this lovely recipe on 101 Cookbooks. The last few times I’ve been less patient with it and have just kind of judged the ratio of different spices to nuts. It doesn’t have to be an exact science. I’ve made it without the sesame seeds and peppercorns too (as I had run out) and it still totally worked.
What you need to make some Dukkah (as found on 101 Cookbooks)
1/2 cup of hazelnuts
1/4 cup of coriander seeds
3 tablespoons of sesame seeds
2 tablespoons of cumin seeds
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon of fennel seeds
1 teaspoon of dried mint leaves
1 teaspoon of salt
Heat a large frying pan over a medium heat. You’re going to dry-toast the nuts and seeds so don’t add any oil.
Put the hazelnuts and coriander seeds in the pan together. Toast for 5 minutes or so, shaking a lot, until the nuts start releasing a lovely toasty smell. Set them aside.
Now put the sesame seeds, cumin seeds, peppercorns, fennel seeds and dried mint in to the frying and toast for another 5 minutes or so, shaking a lot so nothing burns. Remove from the heat when the sesame seeds have gone a golden colour and all of the seeds are releasing lovely smells.
You can pulse everything together in a food processor but be careful not to pulse it too much as you don’t want it to be a paste.
You can also bash it in stages in your pestle and mortar but it will take ages. You can make it as chunky or as fine as you like. I guess you want the hazelnuts to break down so they’re closer in size to the seeds, making it easier to scoop up with the bread.
The Dukkah will last for quite some time in a jar with a lid so make a large batch and see how long you can keep it without eating it at any given opportunity. Yum.
This track by Dublin-based trio Ships doesn’t, I admit, have anything to do with Dukkah but it will vastly improve your Tuesday by listening to it at full blast in the middle of the day. Tune!