A Trio of Dukkahs – Great Gift Ideas

Wheat-free * Dairy-free * Gluten-free * Vegetarian * Vegan * Parve * Paleo *

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A trio of WHAT???  That would have been my response to this post just a few months ago.

Let’s start with the answer to WHAT????  Dukkah is a nut and spice mix that is found in markets all over Egypt.  Traditionally it’s served with bread (not our strong point at this blog) and olive oil.  I discovered it at Trader Joe’s.  Just after you enter the store they have a tasting station where unsuspecting customers are seduced into buying products that were not on their shopping lists.

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Most of the time I have to pass up the tasting station because there is cheese or other dairy products in the samples, but on this fateful day they had dukkah (and I was still eating bread at the time).  I dipped the bread in the olive oil and then in the dukkah and tasted it. Hmmm….I’m not sure how I feel about it.  Theirs was very anise-y and I’m on the fence about licorice flavored things – but, I buy it anyway.

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I get home and have an intense need to try it again and BOOM – love at second bite!  Suddenly I’m sprinkling it on everything from scrambled eggs, to tuna or potato salad, to smoked salmon, to hummos, to garnishing soups, seasoning chicken, fish, meats and/or kebabs, dipping bananas and Tofutti Cuties (soy ice cream sandwiches) into it.  Everything tastes better with dukkah on (or in) it.

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Now not being someone who leaves well enough alone, I had to learn more about it.  I checked out wikipedia (the spelling and pronunciation of dukkah are a whole other post’s worth of stories), and article in The New York Times, and chocolateandzucchini.com.

Then I got to work in the kitchen and came up with some excellent (if I must say so myself) recipes.  The variations are totally not traditional and none of them have anise.

Of course there are many ways to present this as a gift here are just a few ideas.

* Buy a really nice spice jar or just a regular ball jar and make a cover for it (not a hard job even if you are not too crafty).  This is a good not-too-expensive gift to give when you have lots of people on your list who you can give the same gift to.  For me, it’s my soup kitchen team.

CIMG1399  CIMG1410  Decorated using contact paper

CIMG1387  CIMG1397 decorated using fabric and ribbon

CIMG1415  CIMG1427  decorated using wrapping paper

*  Put a jar (or 3) of Dukkah or jars of Dukkah ingredients and give them – along with the recipe AND an immersion blender with mini processor attachment

* Make a Dukkah Basket with dukkah you’ve prepared and a bottle of really nice olive oil or balsamic vinegar and fresh bread if you are giving the gift the same day as you pack it.

Traditional Egyptian Dukkah

I have an Egyptian friend who, in addition to helping try to pronounce dukkah correctly, was a tester for this recipe.  He declared it “perfect.”

1/2 cup hazelnuts

1/4 cup white sesame seeds

2 tablespoons coriander seeds

1 tablespoon cumin seeds

1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns

1/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt

1/8 teaspoon thyme

1.  Preheat oven to 350°F.

2.  Place the hazelnuts in a single layer in a pan or on aluminum foil.  Place the sesame seeds in a separate pan or on a separate piece of foil.  Place the coriander seeds, cumin seeds, and peppercorns in a third separate pan or on a separate piece of foil.

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3.  Place all 3 pans/pieces of foil into the oven.  Bake for 5 minutes, then remove the pan/foil with the spices.  Bake 1 minute longer and remove the sesame seeds if they are pale beige.  Bake the hazelnuts 6 minutes longer (total baking time 12 minutes) or until the nuts give off a distinctly nutty aroma.  Remove from oven.

4.  Place the hot hazelnuts between 2 pieces of paper towel.  Rolling the nuts around, remove as much of the skin as possible (don’t make yourself crazy, some or even a fair amount of skin is fine).  Discard the towel with the skin and let the nuts cool completely.

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5.  Put the spices, salt, and thyme into a mini food processor or spice grinder.  Cover and pulse until ground, but stop before mixture becomes a paste.  Empty container into a medium bowl or onto a piece of foil.

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6.  Place 1/4 cup of the hazelnuts into the mini processor or spice grinder.  Pulse until finely chopped.  Add to the spices in the bowl or on the foil.  Place the remaining hazelnuts and 2 tablespoons of the sesame seeds into the processor/grinder.  Pulse until finely chopped.

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Add to the bowl/foil along with the remaining sesame seeds.  Toss until all ingredients are completely combined.  Store in tightly closed container.

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Makes 1 cup

Taste of Israel Dukkah

I use zatar, an Israeli seasoning, in this version.  I’ve seen two types of zatar, one looks a lot like it has lots of flaxseed in it and the other is green and powdery – I use the green-powdery one.  If you don’t have zatar, you can substitute poultry seasoning, but use only 1 tablespoon.

1/3 cup shelled raw pistachio nuts

1/4 cup sesame seed (white)

2 tablespoons coriander seeds

2 teaspoons cumin seeds

1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns

2 tablespoons zatar, divided

2 tablespoons roasted chickpeas

1/4 teaspoon sea or kosher salt

1.  Preheat oven to 350°F.

2.  Place the pistachio nuts in a single layer in a pan or on aluminum foil.  Place the sesame seeds in a separate pan or on a separate piece of foil.  Place the coriander seeds, cumin seeds, and peppercorns in a third separate pan or on a separate piece of foil.

3.  Place all 3 pans/pieces of foil into the oven.  Bake for 5 minutes, then remove the pan/foil with the spices.  Bake 2 minutes longer and remove the sesame seeds if they are pale beige.  Bake the nuts 3 minutes longer (total baking time 10 minutes) or until the nuts give off a distinctly nutty aroma.  Remove from oven.

4.  Put the spices, 1 tablespoon of the zatar, and the salt into a mini food processor or spice grinder.  Cover and pulse until ground, but stop before mixture becomes a paste.  Empty container into a medium bowl or sheet of aluminum foil.

6.  Place the pistachio nuts, 2 tablespoons of the sesame seeds, and the chickpeas into the mini processor or spice grinder.  Pulse until finely chopped.  Add to the spices in the bowl or on the foil.  Add to the bowl/foil along with the remaining sesame seeds and the remaining tablespoon zatar.  Toss until all ingredients are completely combined.  Store in tightly closed container.

Makes 1 1/4 cups

Mulling Dukkah

The spices in this dukkah are based on those used on mulled drinks.  This dukkah is especially good with desserts and other sweet foods.  Dip bananas in melted dark chocolate, then is this dukkah; let cool or freeze for a great treat.

1/2 cup almonds

1/4 cups sesame seeds

1 (2 to 3 inch) cinnamon stick, broken into pieces

1 tablespoon whole allspice

8 whole cloves

1 cardamom pod

1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns

1 teaspoon dried orange rind

1/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt

1.  Preheat oven to 350°F.

2.  Place the almonds in a single layer in a pan or on aluminum foil.  Place the sesame seeds in a separate pan or on a separate piece of foil.  Place the broken cinnamon pieces, allspice, cloves, cardamom, and peppercorns in a third separate pan or on a separate piece of foil.

3.  Place all 3 pans/pieces of foil into the oven.  Bake for 5 minutes, then remove the pan/foil with the spices.  Bake 2 minutes longer and remove the sesame seeds if they are pale beige.  Bake the almonds 6 minutes longer (total baking time 13  minutes) or until the nuts give off a distinctly nutty aroma.  Remove from oven.

4.  Put the spices, orange rind, and salt into a mini food processor or spice grinder.  Cover and pulse until ground, but stop before mixture becomes a paste.  Empty container into a medium bowl or onto a piece of foil.

5.  Place 1/4 cup of the almonds into the mini processor or spice grinder.  Pulse until finely chopped.  Add to the spices in the bowl or on the foil.  Place the remaining almonds and 2 tablespoons of the sesame seeds into the processor/grinder.  Pulse until finely chopped.  Add to the bowl/foil along with the remaining sesame seeds.  Toss until all ingredients are completely combined.  Store in tightly closed container.

Makes 1 cup

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