DUKKAH. How many of you went, huh? Excuse you? That was my reaction when I saw it for the first time in the market a few months back. I read the label, shrugged, dismissed it, but couldn’t get it out of the back of my mind. What is that stuff? Where did it come from? I started seeing it pop up here and there again and again on the inter-webs since, and decided – that’s it, GOOGLE. I read a zillion recipes and a boat load of history on this Egyptian spice blend and decided I would love it. Seeing as the variations of this blend are quite extensive, and how if I know I can make it you will have to seriously twist my arm to get me to purchase it, I decided my first taste of dukkah would be of a batch freshly toasted and ground in my kitchen. I also decided I would make it using a mortar and pestle, to have the most control over the consistency and feel more authentic and such (plus the idea of crushing things by hand sounded therapeutic and I’ll do anything to avoid cleaning my food processor), but I was struggling to find a version of the crushing device I liked for the right price. Giving up on the search, I decided to go spice hunting anyway, and was standing in the bulk section of my local natural market snatching up all the nuts, seeds, and whole spices I would need for this dukkah experiment, when low and behold a mortar and pestle was nestled down in the corner. I didn’t hate it, it was super heavy (which translated to me as quality – not sure of the validity in that), and only fifteen bucks. WIN. I snatched it up along with my ingredient list and booked it home feeling rather accomplished. I prepped my bread dough that night. Then all the dukkah stars aligned the following morning. The bread baked up like a dream, an avocado I had in the refrigerator just so happened to be perfectly ripe, and I didn’t burn any of the nuts, seeds, or spices (!!!) while toasting them for the dukkah. THE DUKKAH. You guys – SO GOOD! Consider myself a dukkah-head from here on out. I want to sprinkle it on everything. I’m serious. This stuff is nuts. The flavors. I kid you not, I would put it even on my mashed potatoes! Welcome, once foreign Egyptian spice blend, to my kitchen. You are here to stay.
This spice blend is a mixture of nuts and seeds that have been toasted and ground, and then tossed with various spices. For the nuts you can use almonds, cashews, macadamias, pecans, pistachios, pine nuts, hazelnuts, etc. Then there are the sesame seeds, cumin seeds, and coriander seeds. Salt and pepper are typically added in as well at the end. Other herbs and spices commonly found in different variations are dried lemon peel, thyme, turmeric, mint, marjoram, chili flakes, or even ground chili powder. It is most commonly served with bread and olive oil, where you dip bread into olive oil and then into the dukkah mixture. I read in one article that it is occasionally served on top of avocado. THAT got my attention and only took maybe two milliseconds for my mind to scream AVOCADO TOAST. So below is my dukkah and fancy avocado toast method. I think it is quite bomb.
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Tid-bits: Watch your nuts and seeds closely when toasting. They each can be done at different times and can burn in a short second – especially oilier nuts such as the pistachios and pine nuts I use below. I chose my two nuts based off of their natural salty, buttery taste I love so much – but feel free to choose your own two favorites and add additional spices to different blends in the future to mix it up!
Makes about 1 cup of dukkah and 2 slices of fancy avocado toast.
1/4 cup raw pine nuts
1/4 cup raw pistachio shelled
1/4 cup white sesame seeds hulled
2 tablespoons coriander seeds
2 tablespoons cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon pink salt or sea salt
few dashes of black pepper
Fancy Avocado Toast
1 ripe avocado
2 slices of a rustic, hearty bread
olive oil for brushing
juice of half a lemon
a few tablespoons of dukkah
For the dukkah, begin by measuring out each of your ingredients, separately. Place a dry, un-oiled skillet on the stove and set to medium-low heat. Toast each of the nuts and seeds separately in the pan due to their difference in size and oil content. Shake the pan every minute or so to toast the sides evenly and avoid burning. Each will take between 4 and 10 minutes to toast. You will know when they are done because they will be very fragrant, and the nuts and sesame seeds slightly browned. Set the nuts aside to cool completely once toasted.
Once your nuts and seeds are toasted and cooled, grind them seperately in a mortar and pestle to your desired consistency. Some dukkah is on the coarser side, some on the finer. I went with a slightly coarser consistency for a good crunch and texture. You can also use a spice grinder or food processor, but make sure not to turn the nuts into a paste by over-processing. Toss the ground nuts and seeds together in a bowl with the salt and pepper and it’s finished. Serve right away on the toast below, and store the leftover in an airtight glass jar at room temperature. Sprinkle liberally on everything.
Toast the two slices of bread in a dry skillet on the stove, set to medium heat, for a few minutes on each side. Brush each slice with olive oil and divide the avocado slices between the two. Squeeze fresh lemon juice on top of the avocado and sprinkle liberally with dukkah. ENJOY.