Fall Dukkah Blend
Updated: Jun 19
Dukkah or as the Gazans call it Dugga. Is a blend of spices, grains, legumes, nuts, and sometimes herbs. It zaatar’s first cousin. Dukkah is often eaten with with pita bread. First you dip the bread in olive oil and then a dip into the dukkah mixture. Dukkah made its way to Gaza through Egypt where its also consumed. In Palestine it’s often sold with fresh bread or kaek (sesame Jerusalem loaves) wrapped in a newspaper cone. The word Dugga or Dukkah comes from the Arabic word ‘to grind’, referring to how this blend was originally made.
My grandmother makes her own blend, she grinds it into a fragrant powder that she will save in jars. She makes enough for the whole year and to pass out to all her kids and grandkids and possibly the neighbors. After spending precious time in the kitchen with my tita last summer and talking to my friend Dina who’s from Gaza I experimented with some ingredients mostly traditionaly with a few changes to create a tasty blend. I left my dukkah a little bit more coarse than usual so you can taste each of the ingredients but grind it the consistency you like.
The intense rich flavor from the toasted nuts, and the smoky, complex and savory flavor from the toasted spices and seeds make this blend irresistible that you’ll want to sprinkle over just about everything.
Fall Dukah recipe
1/2 cup raw hazelnuts (not traditional)
1/4 cup red lentils (wheat berries are often used)
1/4 cup coriander seeds
1/4 cup cumin seeds
1 tsp black peppercorns
3 tbls fennel seeds
1 tsp dried lemon peel (optional)
1-2 dried red chili’s (optional) stems and seeds removed
sea salt start with a tsp and adjust to your taste
3 tablespoons nigella seeds (sesame seeds are more traditional)
3 tbls sumac
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds roughly chopped (don't add them to the food processor they will turn into powder).
Tip: You would want to start with raw (not roasted) seeds and nuts that you toast and grind yourself to get the best freshest flavor. you can use a food processor or a spice/coffee grinder for as well.
Heat a heavy skillet over high heat, add the hazelnuts, and dry-toast until slightly toasted and fragrant, being careful that they don't burn. Remove from the heat and cool completely. Once cooled rub them between your fingers the skin will fall right off. Repeat the procedure with each of the seeds and the peppercorns. Allow each of them to cool completely.
Start by adding the toasted red lentils to the food processor and pulse until u get coarse crumbs. Its best to grind each items separately to get the right consistency and not to overgrind otherwise you will get a paste. Process the hazelnuts down to the red chili’s in a food processor pulse to a coarse consistency; do not allow the mixture to become a paste. Place the ingredients in a bowl. Roughly chop the pumpkin seeds and fold in the nigella seeds and sumac. Toss the ingredients all together until they are well combined.
Store your mixture in a glass airtight jar. If stored properly it will last 6-12 months. I doubt it will last that long you are going to want to sprinkle it on everything.
Ideas to use Dukkah:
- Dip: mix equal parts olive oil and Dukkah and serve with warm bread
- Sprinkle on avocado toast
- Sprinkle on raw or roasted vegetables like in this fall dish
- Dip fruits
- On top of labaneh or yogurt
- As a spice blend to roast chicken, fish or beef
If you make this please tag us we would love to see your creations and ways to use Dukkah.