Friday, May 20, 2011
Dukkah - A blend of spices
Just about the other day, I chanced to talk to one of my husband's colleagues from his Egypt office. I called to wish her on Mothers' Day; she has been more than a colleague then and a good friend ever after. She asked me how I liked the West of Africa and spoke about other things like whether I am able to procure all Indian groceries unlike my Egypt years when I carried stuff from India and saved them until my next visit.
As we were speaking I told her about the blog and I said I was so wanting to write a few Egypt recipes that are vegetarian. She gave me a list of few that I could try at home and thus I have this post today! A very simple one and very handy to have.
Dukkah is a mix of coarsely blended nuts and spices. It is a great mix that you can enjoy with bread. You will have to dip the bread in olive oil, just about to coat it and then plunge it into the dukkah to coat it with the spiced powder as much as you like and as much heat your tastebuds can tolerate.
Each household uses their own proportion of nuts and variants too. But mainly hazel nuts and sesame seeds, coriander seeds and pepper corns are used. You can vary the ingredients and quantities and have your very own special spice powder. This is as much variety can get with as the South Indian molagai podai for idlis and dosais.
1 cup of mixed nuts ( I have used hazelnuts, almonds and pistachios)
1/3 cup of sesame seeds
1/6th of a cup coriander seeds
2 tablespoons cumin seeds
1 and 1/2 tablespoon black pepper corns
Sea salt to taste
Before mixing the nuts, roast each gently on slow fire.
If you get slivered almonds just roast them and add as such. I have used whole almonds and was not easy to remove the skin. Hence my powder is a bit red in colour from the skin and also I pulsed a wee bit longer than required that my nuts were crushed well. (They are usually just about broken to a bit coarse, not very fine.) Nonetheless, the powder tastes great.
Do not over roast the pistachios as they get oily. They need to just get a bit of warmth from the fire.
Roast the sesame seeds without allowing them to brown, but until they pop.
Similarly roast the coriander seeds, cumin and the pepper.
Since I use sea salt and usually roast it before adding to any of the powders I intend to keep long, I would roast that too.
Allow this to cool and pulse everything together in a mixer jar or a spice blender until coarsely pounded.
Cool and store in airtight containers.
This has a shelf life for about three months at the least.
As I said it make a great dip with olive oil and freshly baked bread.
However, I mixed it in hot steamed rice like I would any other podi and added sesame oil to it.
You can easily have most ingredients in any household. Add or reduce other nuts and such will only make it all the more interesting. Flax seeds for instance, will be great and so will be the addition of garlic.
Try your own recipe and enjoy!