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What Is Dukkah?
Dukkah (also spelled dukka or duqqa) is a spice blend that usually contains toasted and coarsely ground sesame seeds, coriander, cumin, salt, pepper, and hazelnuts. It’s eaten as a breakfast or snack throughout the Middle East and North Africa, typically with bread that’s been dipped in olive oil. Recipes for dukkah vary regionally and from family to family, and the versatile mixture can be used as a dry rub for grilled meats and fish or as a garnish for raw and roasted vegetables.
Where Did Dukkah Originate?
Dukkah is thought to have come from Egypt, where some form of nut-seed-and-spice blends have existed since ancient times as a way to add protein, fat, and flavor to a simple meal. The word dukkah, which comes from the Arabic verb “to pound,” references the traditional method of grinding in a mortar and pestle.
What Does Dukkah Taste Like?
Dukkah has a warm, toasty, nutty flavor that’s brightened by fresh, citrusy coriander and cumin. It’s a little salty and somewhat spicy, due to the black pepper. The flavor of dukkah can vary depending on the types of nuts and spices in your blend, but dukkah should always have a crunchy, crumbly texture.
How Do You Substitute Dukkah?
There’s no real substitute for dukkah, but you can make the spice blend using whatever nuts, seeds, and spices you happen to have on hand. The classic dukkah formula is sesame, coriander, cumin, hazelnuts, salt, and pepper, but if you don’t have hazelnuts, consider almonds, peanuts, pecans, pistachios, pine nuts, or cashews. One super-simple version of dukkah found in Egypt is simply salt, pepper, and dried mint. Other common dukkah additions include: cinnamon, fennel seeds, dried thyme, dried marjoram, dried oregano, dried lemon peel, red pepper flakes, nigella seeds, caraway, turmeric, pumpkin seeds, oats, coconut, millet, and sunflower seeds.
Easy Homemade Dukkah Recipe
Prep Time5 min
Total Time35 min
Makes 1½ cups
- ½ cup hazelnuts
- ⅓ cup sesame seeds
- ¼ cup whole coriander seeds
- 2 tablespoons cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt or sea salt
- 1½ teaspoons black peppercorns
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread hazelnuts on a rimmed baking sheet and toast until nuts are golden brown and skins have loosened, about 8–10 minutes. Let the nuts cool slightly and then rub using a clean kitchen towel to remove as much of the skins as you can. Transfer to a medium bowl.
- In a dry pan over medium heat, toast sesame seeds, stirring frequently, until lightly browned, about 2–5 minutes. Transfer to the bowl with the hazelnuts.
- Use the same method to separately toast the coriander seeds, cumin seeds, and peppercorns.
- Using a mortar and pestle, spice grinder, or food processor, pound or grind the toasted nuts, seeds, and spices, being careful not to let the nuts turn into a paste. Add salt and adjust seasoning to taste. Store in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator.
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