Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Recipe Wednesday: Dukkah

I'm over 20 weeks pregnant now, and What to Expect When You're Expecting tells me that the baby's starting to taste what I eat. Even though all I've wanted are bagels, citrus and cereal, in the interest of diversifying our little bean's palate, I'm trying to work a little more complexity into my menu. So when we had curry for dinner the other night and I broke out one of my favorite before-dinner appetizers, a bread dipping spice blend called Dukkah.

When I was a student at U of M, I used to go to a middle eastern restaurant that no one knew about (probably because it was by the mall ... and probably because they only had a teeny sign by the parking lot). They had delicious entrees, but my favorite part of any meal there was the warm naan and dukkah they served before each meal. The blend of spices is so nuanced. It's just the right amount of salty, a little spicy and very rich. For maximum enjoyment, I suggest serving it with warm naan, but a loaf of crusty bread or thick lavash will also do the trick.


2/3 cup hazelnuts
1/2 cup sesame seeds
2 tablespoons coriander seeds
2 tablespoons cumin seeds
2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon flaked sea salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Place the hazelnuts on a baking sheet, and bake for about 5 minutes, or until fragrant. While the nuts are still hot, pour them onto a tea towel. Fold the towel over them to cover, and rub vigorously to remove the skins. Set aside to cool.

In a dry skillet over medium heat, toast the sesame seeds until light golden brown. Pour into a medium bowl as soon as they are done so they will not continue toasting. In the same skillet, toast the coriander and cumin seeds while shaking the pan or stirring occasionally until they begin to pop. Transfer to a food processor (or mortar and pestle) and process until finely ground, then pour into the bowl with the sesame seeds. Place the cooled hazelnuts into the food processor, and process until finely ground. Stir into the bowl with the spices. Season with salt and pepper, and mix well.

To serve, place a little in a bowl and cover with olive oil. Serve with crusty bread or middle eastern flatbread (such as lavash or naan). Mixture can be stored in an airtight container until oil from nuts smells rancid. Yields 1.5 cups.

And that's it my friends. This recipe yields enough for a few nights' worth of dukkah, but don't worry ... it'll get gobbled up. If you're anything like Ron and I, once you try it, you'll be hooked.

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