Friday, 20 April 2012

Middle Eastern dukkah with olive oil and fresh bread

Maggie, my mother-in-law, and I shared a passion for food. Both of us shared a flair for throwing food together at the last minute. 

In honour of her life and with gratitude to her for sharing wonderful recipes and a passion for good food, I want to share this recipe with you. 

She introduced me to Dukkah about 12 years ago, and I have passed it onto to many others since. I love how we share recipes and new food ideas
with one another and how they spread and link us all up. It's one of the many, many beautiful gifts food has to offer.

Please make this dish and if you love it, pass it onto another foodies...

This is great to have with an apperitif, something to enjoy with friends over a drink or light snacks. It impresses most people as it's different and many people have never tried dukkah before.

Traditionally it's an Egyptian dish that spread throughout the Middle East over the years. Commonly hazelnuts are used with a blend of spices. Most recipes call for toasted nuts but I like to use raw nuts to keep the nutritional benefit high. Along with good cold pressed organic olive oil, and in this case, this is where I would definitely use traditional fresh white French bread !

I love the tactile nature of this dish. Tear off a piece of crusty bread and pass it on to the next person, then dunk the bread in olive oil and dip into the dukkah. The soft fluffy bread contrasts with rich olive oil and the nutty crumbly texture of the dukkah, then the layed flavours of the spices. Delicious! 

Try various combinations of your own. 

You can use brazil nuts, walnuts, macadamia nuts, pecan nuts, pistachio nuts, pine-nuts, pepita seeds, sunflower seeds, dried black olive flakes, black sesame seeds and play with the spices and dried herbs! Dried mint, rosemary, thyme, marjoram, oregano, black pepper, nigella seeds (black cumin seed), paprika, smoked paprika, chili, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, carraway seeds, fennel, cardamom, sumac...
I'm sure I've missed a few but you get the drift.

It's so versatile, try sprinkling it on roast vegetables, all kinds salads, spice rubs for tofu, potatoes or tempeh or anything BBQ-ed. It makes a wonderful garnish for dips or soups. It adds wonderful flavours and contrasting textures to most dishes.  

Makes a bowlful for 6-8 people to share

1 cup hazelnuts (raw)
½ cup almonds (raw)
1tsp good salt
3 tbs sesame seeds
2 tsp coriander powder
1 stp cumin powder
1tsp dried oregano

Fresh bread
Good olive oil

Blend the nuts in a food processor until fine but still with a little texture, so that it's not a powder or has begun to turn to butter. Then add the remaining ingredients and blitz for a further 30 seconds to a minute.

Tear or cut bread and place in a bowl or basket or for a more communal atmosphere, serve the loaf whole, on a bread board for each person to tear and pass on.
Pour olive oil into a slightly deep bowl, good enough for dipping chunks of bread into.
You can store it in an airtight container for up to a month. Keep in the fridge to retain freshness so the nuts don't go rancid.

Note: if you have some left over, and it has lumps of oil in it, use in any of the above versatile ways!

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