dukkah days

 

dukkah with olive oil & sourdough

Dukkah was one of the things that started my love affair with Middle Eastern food. It may seem a lot to ask from a simple blend of sesame seeds, cumin, coriander and hazelnuts. But from the first time I tried this delicious and versatile Egyptian specialty I was hooked.

My first encounter with dukkah was in McLaren Vale, South Australia, a picturesque wine growing area known for it’s gutsy reds.  At the time an enterprising olive oil and almond farmer had started producing an almond based dukkah that was sampled along with their extra virgin oil in various wineries in the region. We were encouraged to try it the Egyptian way: take some crusty bread dip in oil and then in the dukkah…yum.

According to Claudia Roden dukkah with olive oil and bread is eaten in Egypt for breakfast, lunch & dinner. And I’ve found that it has crept into my kitchen on all three eating occasions. For breakfast it adds a new dimension to honey on crumpets, for lunch it jazzes up sardines on toast and for dinner it lends a crunchy topping to a pretty pink beetroot soup.

Along with marinated olives, dukkah is still my favourite standby starter for when you have last minute guests……just pop some dukkah into a small bowl, add another bowl of your best extra virgin oil and some bread and presto you have an instant tasty starter…all good things

other uses for dukkah:
*quail eggs hard boiled, peeled and served with dukkah for dunking
*sprinkled over chicken liver pate and served with toast
*sprinkled on honey sandwiches
*sprinkled over fried eggs with feta and sliced spring onions with a squeeze of lemon juice a la karen martini
*dust to form a light crust on fish or chicken before pan frying and serving with an extra sprinkle of dukkah
*sprinkled over roast veg, especially pumpkin and sweet potato
*sprinkled over vegemite on toast

dukkah
makes approx 3cups

I prefer to make a largish batch of dukkah and then keep half in an airtight jar in the fridge and the rest in a plastic bag in the freezer.  When my fridge supply runs out I just top up from the freezer.  It will keep perfectly well at room temperature but the cooler your storage environment, the fresher it will keep for longer.

This version was adapted from Claudia Roden’s eneyclopaedic tomb: a new book of Middle Eastern food.  I’ve added macadamias to give it more of an Australian feel..and because I didn’t have enough hazelnuts..I was also a bit lazy and used pre ground spices but it would be even tastier if you took the time to first toast then grind whole spices..

250g sesame seeds
100g hazelnuts
100g macadamias
100g ground coriander
60g ground cumin
extra virgin olive oil, to serve
sourdough or turkish bread, to serve

Toast seeds and nuts separately until golden. Process hazelnuts and macadamias in a food processor until coarsley ground, add remaining ingredients and whizz until combined. Season well with s&p..I used at least 1t sea salt.

Serve on a platter with oil and bread. To eat dip bread first the oil and the dukkah.

sardines on toast with dukkah
serves 1

This is a new simple twist on an alltime favourite lunch: sardines on toast. I often serve toasted pinenuts with sardines, but the nutty spiciness of dukkah makes an even better accompaniment to the wee oily fish.

1 can sardines in olive oil, drained
2T lemon juice
2T evoo
1t dijon mustard
1/2 clove garlic
1 slice sourdough bread, toasted
large handful watercress
dukkah
lemon half, to serve

Combine lemon juice, oil and mustard in a small bowl.  Rub hot toast with the clove of garlic and place on a dinner plate. Top toast with sardines and drizzle with 3/4 of the lemon juice mix. Toss watercress in remaining dressing and place on the plate next to the toast.  Sprinkle toast with dukkah to taste and serve with a lemon half.

sardines on toast with dukkah 

roast beet soup with dukkah and yoghurt
serves 6

Adapted from a beetroot soup recipe by Jane Hahn from the July 2002 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller. Interestingly, after I made my soup I noticed that Jane also has a recipe for a pumpkin carrot and saffron soup that was served with turkish bread and dukkah.

1 bunch beets, scrubbed and trimmed and halved
1T balsamic vinegar
2T olive oil
1 spanish onion, chopped
1L chicken or vegetable stock
2T tarragon vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
1/2 cup natural yoghurt

Place beets on a large sheet of aluminium foil. Drizze with 1T oil, balsamic vinegar and season. Wrap foil to form a parcel around the beets and seal tightly. Bake for 30-40mins at 200C or until beets are cooked through.

Heat remaining oil in a large saucepan and add onion. Cook over a low heat for approx 10mins or until onion is soft. Add stock and cooked beets and simmer for 15mins or until beets are very soft.  Puree soup with a stick blender or transfer to a food processor and puree until smooth.  Return to the saucepan and season and reheat.

Serve soup in bowls topped with a dollup of yoghurt and a generous sprinkling of dukkah.

 

roast beet soup with dukkah and yoghurt

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